Sunday, January 23, 2011

Feathered Friends from the North

We have been hearing Geese honking for a couple weeks. They were across 90th Avenu, possibly in the Golf Course, but never in sight.

Finally, I was out walking a dog on 90th and heard them and then saw them. The pair landed on the roof of a house across the Avenue!

The distance was too great to see any distinguishing marks or colors. We just knew they were Geese from their appearance and Honk! Then they took off flying south over the houses and west across 90th Avenue in a side swoop. I could see the glistening white of the wing feathers closer to the body and the long expanse of very black primary feathers along the length of the wing. The color contrast was absolutely unbelieveable.

I pulled out my well worn Golden's Guide to Field Identification of Birds of North America and found the Goose I thought they might be: The Snow Goose, length 19 inches and wingspan 59".

This morning I heard the honking nearby, grabbed my trusty binoculars and raced out to find the Geese. The pair were picking at grass in the swale across the Avenue!

I was able to see the greyish body color of the immature bird, with the black patch on the head and a long patch of white from the forehead to the beak and the white of the mature bird. How beautiful!

Their habitat seems to run a swath of the Prairie States from Mississippi north and west up through Canada and Alaska. Not along the the mid to lower Eastern Coastal States.

We had now heard, seen, identified and enjoyed watching them eat. We hope to see them again. In our 27 years living here, we have not seen or heard these Geese.

Isn't Cooper City lucky to have the Snow Geese spending the winter with us?

Gladys Wilson

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