We spent a lot of time outside today, including a trip to see the newest Menards’ store. The drive was more interesting, however, as I spotted a group of Canadian Honkers who had landed on a frozen lake along the highway. I suppose it looks like an open lake to the geese as they fly over, so they land—-on ice. A goose landing on an icy surface is a lot of fun to watch….they come in for their landing and careen all over the ice, with wings flapping, much honking and fluttering til they finally pull to a halt. Then they walk on the ice and resemble Red Skelton doing "Freddie the Freeloader" with their wobbley steps on the slick surface. Geese in flight are magnificent creatures but a goose walking on ice looks a lot like a very inebriated fat man trying to get up a curb along some Skid Row.
The flights of wild geese are increasing daily. Huge flocks of hundreds of geese fly over in the familiar "Vee" formation, sometimes very high and sometimes at lower altitude if they are looking for a place to set down for the night. We see a lot of low flying around here as there are abundant corn stubble fields near us. The truly wild ones are heading for nesting grounds in Canada while the "resident geese" , who live year-round in Fergus Falls along the Ottertail River, are flying out to our area for nesting. We get many nesting pairs annually in our woodlands and we also get in on a lot of fights for territory for building a nest. Geese can be very loud and irritating since the fights go on throughout the night when territory gets more scarce. Their honking is incessant by early April. Pairs fly over our house at near jet plane-buzz mode. Sometimes it appears that they are going to hit the roof but of course they always clear it. Our cat, who has taken to sitting out on the deck in the morning to soak up some spring sunshine, is very puzzled by these loud honking fly-overs. When the swallows come, she is really in trouble, since they are not shy about swooping and buzzing anything that comes close to their chosen nesting spots. I cannot walk out to my clothelines without getting harrassed by mad swallows in the summertime.
If only humans were like the wild geese in that a pair of geese are lifelong partners and will never leave the other until they are parted by death. They watch over their offspring with deep devotion and tireless vigilance. What a great world it would be if human parents behaved like the Geese parents.
I am glad to watch the geese return, nest, fight, and entertain with their icy slapstick dances and flip flops. Now I am waiting for the first flight of sandhill cranes to come over in their circling formations, riding the air currents and making their distinctive crying sounds. Spring is truly upon us and I have seen the sun set in the middle of the horizon too! Life is good!