Sunday, March 28, 2021

Change In Plans

We are busy in the spring. Very busy. Yet, watching birds is something we put into our 'busy' schedule. 'Our' Canada geese winter over in the river and then fly north. We watch them each day line up in formation to fly over the dormant cornfield to the west knowing there are hunters about, but still calling their friends and neighbors to fly out. They do not leave all at once but in groups of 5 or 10 or 20.  When the noise reaches a peak, the flapping wings banging against the surface of the water adds even more chaotic sound, and soon with a crescendo, they are off leaving behind only soft white feathers on the surface.

Those geese that remain are not migratory and must find nesting grasses as soon as the weather starts to warm. The geese that remain were looking at the osprey nest right after the last snow.
We realized too late that we should have tried to knock off all the soft grasses and forced the osprey to rebuild when they arrived. 

The ospreys returned weeks later and sat watchfully on the empty nest that first day.  Sometime during the day the geese brought a major attack against the two ospreys and intimidated them off the nest with their large wingspan. When the geese returned to the nest, the osprey were not able to return the intimidation making them leave. I learned a lot about fighting and sense of purpose and how size matters more than claws and beaks---psychology more than actual weapons.  This battle went on for several days.  The ospreys are now building a more fragile nest high in a tree across the river.

We dreaded the time when the geese couple would realize that hubby's banging on the osprey nest post and his chasing them back up the river in his kayak was not dangerous. One morning the female goose stood her ground!  She sat and watch him bang away and realized that was all he had. No gun. No net. Just noise. 

For a while, there were two couples eyeing the nest.  Real estate is at a premium here.  

We have accepted that once again we will watch a pair of geese raise their young through the spring...unless our horned owl decides the young will make a nice midnight snack.  I accept that we like the geese less because they are so abundant and so strong.  I have had a goose try to chase me off a canal path years ago.  But it is what it is.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Waiting for Guests

I have written about this before, but this year is more complex it seems.

We behave in a most ridiculous manner each spring.   After all, the guests that are coming are not 'our' guests. Yes, we invited them and provide 'shelter', but it is not as though we are close friends or hang out when they are here!  We let them go their way and we go ours.  We can guess at their favorite meals and they could care less about ours.  We are quiet at night as are they.  It is a very simpatico relationship.

We start watching for their arrival in Mid-march.  They do not send any notice and we get very nervous if they are late. Thousands of miles is a long way to come all by yourself!  They meet up but arrive days apart.  They have no idea the extra effort we take to make sure their guest room is ready for them the moment they arrive. 

We were filled with joy when we saw them both and the male was doing his sky dance yesterday afternoon.  You can go here to see what a joyous mating ritual this is.

Sometimes other trespassers want to take advantage of our hospitality, but we have specifically set aside this place (for the last 15 years!) for our special guests. We have watched through joy, challenge, and tragedy as they raise their annual family. The multitude of the 'other' homeless is persistent as they want a safe shelter for their young.  One year we were not home at the right time and one of the interlopers settled in!  (Some of these older photos are blurry, but they help tell the tale.)

They could not be moved even with all our shouting and throwing.  When our guests,  the osprey, eventually returned, they could not chase them off even with their beaks and talons.  The geese would not move off their newly laid eggs.

The battle went on for hours.  The Geese won...

They raised a lovely family and we found joy in their success while we missed our osprey.

Five or six plops into the water during summer and the siblings joined their parents and were quickly moved away from prying eyes.  The nest was empty.

But because of that success, they return early every year and we play chase-away for many days.  Hubby now rises early and gets into the kayak to keep the geese away.  This year has been a particularly difficult season and the neighbors must be very entertained.

Hubby chases them all the way to the end of the finger in the river and the osprey seem to be weakening in their determination to nest.  It will be very sad if they are not successful this year.  That long flight has weakened them, I am sure.  They are not ready for such a battle.  

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Destroying Tapestries

Such mystery 
Such complex history 
Today they felled three-one-hundred-year-old trees

The death shudder shook my windows

Tomorrow we check the vernal pond 
Fragility which does not even last a whole year

It is all a tapestry 
Over which we try mastery 
And we can move mountains and cheer our eccentricity
Our hubris and  power over the planet 
Erasing nature's chronicle in just one afternoon