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Goose Crossing!

July 6, 2013

Canada Goose

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A procession of geese I photographed last year

Spring and early summer is a time when you may see waterfowl crossing the road in front of your car.  Much of the time, this will be Canada Geese.  These big birds are rather numerous, and have adapted well to living near humans.  Think of all of the apartment and corporate ponds you’ve seen with them hanging about.  They can eat grass, so a pond with a lawn looks like home to them.  As their numbers grow, they are more and more considered pests in these settings.  I guess they are to be blamed for moving into great real estate that people unwittingly create for them.

The main reason you may see geese in the road is when they are walking their young to prominent waterways.  Goslings may not be flying yet, so their parents will dutifully escort them with a watchful eye to a river, reservoir or pond from their nesting areas in fields.

Typically at least once a year I get to see a goose parade crossing the road.  I’m happy to say that most drivers (who are not always patient) restrain themselves and allow the geese to cross the road.  The following pictures were taken on a recent May morning as I was driving out to a park to do some birding.  And of course I had a camera handy.  I stopped, put my flashers on and crossed my fingers.

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I always wonder if the parents are confident that cars will stop for them or not.

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 One parent at the rear seems to ‘goose’ a laggard gosling into moving faster.

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These goslings were sort of a mini-herd of a couple of broods, parents having escort duty…

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…and these older goslings, looking like smaller dusty versions of their parents, followed.

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After the final open lane’s traffic cleared (they knew to stop when a car sped by), all the geese made it to the other side of the road.

Knowing how fellow drivers are not always reasonable beings, I was glad that nobody ran over these birds.  Now if they don’t need to cross too many more roads, they’re set!

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30 Comments leave one →
  1. July 6, 2013 4:54 pm

    A beautiful family of geese….

  2. July 6, 2013 5:01 pm

    I’ve seen the same thing, and also have seen a few that had been geese run over. The adults molt while the young aren’t able to fly, so the adults are grounded as well. The ones you see flying are yearlings that haven’t mated yet.

    • July 6, 2013 5:49 pm

      Ahh, that makes perfect sense to molt when the young can’t fly. I’ve seen a lonely yearling that flies in and out of a nearby field- I assume he or she will find a mate soon, there’s no shortage of Canada Geese here!

  3. July 6, 2013 6:09 pm

    I am wondering if the geese have decided they like city life better than country living. Normally, I would see many geese in the fields and rivers here in northern Minnesota … however, this year only a couple (2 pair with young). The Spring was very late here … that could be the reason … Or, maybe city life is more exciting?

    • July 6, 2013 6:51 pm

      That’s a good question, Bearyweather. I wouldn’t be surprised if some geese are heading to the big city from the country.

  4. July 6, 2013 6:38 pm

    The parents do such a good job of keeping them all together.

  5. July 6, 2013 7:06 pm

    So sweet, and great to see the motorists are so cooperative!

  6. July 6, 2013 8:10 pm

    Hi Seasons, I like Canada Geese and am glad the flock made it across the road. Something like “Make way for Ducklings” – gee, guess I am showing my age (I also taught First Grade). Have a fine Sunday tomorrow!

  7. July 7, 2013 8:26 am

    I’ve seen a few flocks this year but none in the road. i think we have so much water here that they don’t need to cross roads to get to it. I hope they don’t cross at night!

  8. July 7, 2013 9:21 am

    Someone should teach the geese to use a crosswalk! We have resident geese in a nearby park. I always enjoy watching them. I love your blog!

  9. July 7, 2013 12:04 pm

    Love these pictures, Tracy, especially the little ones being herded by their elders! My husband watched a parade of geese across the road the other day while the classical radio station in his car happened to be playing Pomp & Circumstance – my husband is still laughing at the memory.

  10. July 7, 2013 2:34 pm

    The fuzzy goslings are cute. I’m so glad the other drivers stopped for them. 🙂

  11. July 7, 2013 11:49 pm

    I’m glad they all made it safely across.

  12. July 8, 2013 12:48 am

    I’ve stopped for them to cross here too. And ducks.

  13. July 9, 2013 2:54 am

    Great photos! I am glad they crossed safely. I have held up traffic myself before now to allow geese to cross, but not on a four-lane road!

  14. July 12, 2013 8:01 am

    I am always amazed how quickly they grow. They don’t stay little puff balls long!

  15. July 27, 2013 12:57 am

    I watched as my friend scattered corn for the family of Canada Geese. There was mom and dad and five goslings already approaching their parents in size. Jokingly and flippantly I said something like: “Fattening up the tender goslings for your Christmas dinner.” He shot me daggers! He did not think that was the least bit funny. This pair of geese returned year after year to his farm pond. They were dearly loved pets, and you don’t joke about dining on your pets. In half a dozen places around our county, I have seen home-made roadside signs cautioning drivers about a goose crossing – usually with a graphic of parent geese leading their line of young.

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