In my last post, I talked about the huge migration of snow geese that I saw on Canandaigua Lake. Shortly after that post, our temperatures dipped to a negative 6 degrees Fahrenheit on February 4. On that bitter cold day, we did not see the snow geese. In fact, there wasn’t any flying water fowl on Canandaigua Lake.
I have to wonder; where do these birds go for lunch when the weather turns ugly? A few days later, we took a trip to Penn Yan, NY to buy some groceries for ourselves and just by chance, we spotted a huge flock of snow geese having lunch in one of last fall’s corn fields. I don’t know what was on the menus, but I suspect that they were finding plenty of kernels of corn from the previous harvest. They were talking to each other and happily feeding.
Snow geese require up to 4 lbs. of grass each day. And of course, a source of open water which has not been a problem here in the Finger Lakes this year as our temperatures have been on the warm side. I pulled over on the side of the road to record this lunch feast by the snow geese. When we returned from our shopping trip, they were gone.
The snow geese that we saw are the white morphs of the species. They have what appears to be a black tail when standing and viewed from the side but in reality, the black feathers are on their wing tips.
Snow geese bond as long-term pairs in their second year and breeding does not usually start until their third year. The young feed themselves right after they are hatched but are protected by both of their parents and remain with the family until they are two to three years old. These migrator birds spend more than a half of a year just traveling from their breeding grounds in the tundra to their warmer wintering areas in the southern United States and even into Mexico along the Gulf of Mexico. A good source of information on the snow geese can be found at (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/snow_goose ).
So, what did I learn from my research?
1. Snow geese are monogamous family orientated birds. The raising of the young is shared by both the male and female of the species.
2. The young feed themselves right after hatching from the egg but stay with the family until they are old enough to start their own family.
We humans might learn something from these migrating birds as our human role models have been completely destroyed by our children’s use of instantaneous electronic communication, by advertisements from big corporations, and by our political leaders.
James R. Bupp