Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Canada Geese

Riverbank St Park, Harlem
There was a time when Canada Geese were romantic evocations of Autum for me.  Growing up in Indiana we'd rarely see them on the ground, but we'd see and hear huge Vs of them overhead on their way south.   I don't ever remember hearing or seeing them heading north in the Spring.  Maybe they got overlooked as other seasonal markers took my attention then. 

Over the last twenty years they've become as common as sparrows.  When a flock of them took down a plane here a few years ago, their status as junk birds became firmly fixed in many minds.  This handful are part of a flock living on the Hudson just a few blocks from my house.  The flock grows enormous in the Winter.  Some are year 'rounders, I'm sure, but I think the increased Winter numbers may also indicate that this is 'south' for many others.  I stop by for a visit every couple of days.  It amuses me that they seem to love the cold even more than me; on days when I'll be one of the few people dumb enough to be cavorting outside, they'll go me one better, and be floating contentedly in the river.  Occasionally, regardless of season, I'll hear them flying over my apartment, heading east, west, northeast, southwest,  no actual migration happening, it would seem, but apparently they like to stay in practice.  Even as the sight of them becomes commonplace, I still delight in them, and the sound of their honking overhead still makes my heart leap, at least for a moment.

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