Many birds have arrived here in the past few days. They won’t migrate any further north because this is where they normally spend the summer. I told you about the geese and the ducks a few days ago. Today I spotted a hawk in a tree in the woods. I thought I would tiptoe over to see it up close.
Close is a relative term depending on the type of bird. The Ducks are skittish until they get to know me. Right now they fly away with no provocation at all. The Canada Geese are bold and brash. They hold their position on the top of the rock, confident that I won’t wade out to bother them. The Robins have no fear, and in the summer they will hop along beside me when I am weeding the flower beds, darting in to pick up any delicious goody I unearth as I shovel. The Magpies, our rats with wings, are raucous but cautious because they know they are not the most welcome birds.
The Hawks, my favourites, keep the mice and gophers under control. They nest somewhere nearby, and when their babies fledge, the whole family flies down onto the fence posts in the field behind our house. It is a convenient place to park the babies while the parents catch their meals.
So today I left the warmth of the house to photograph the hawk. He or she was sitting in a tree in the woods. I kept taking pictures as I crept closer. But the camera was confused by the branches and the heavy snow flakes – the hawk came out all blurry.
So I moved down towards the pond, and edged back towards the stand of trees by skirting the water. That was when I discovered that the ground around the pond was not all that frozen any more, and my quiet footfalls through the snow changed to the sucking sound of boots in mud. The hawk took to the air, as did the ducks, which left just me and the geese looking at each other.
At first the geese were quiet, then they started to honk quite loudly. I believe they were discussing my skills as a photographer, and I think they said I Suck…
The Feather Files
Name: Branta canadensis
Alias: Canada Goose
Migration: Resident to long-distance migrant. Canada Geese breed throughout North America, except in the high Arctic and in the extreme southern parts of the United States and Mexico.
Date Seen: April, 2011
Location: North of Calgary, Alberta, Canada