Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Where Have All The Geese Gone?

Today's post has a dual purpose. But make no mistake, these two meanings mesh together very well. So let's take a look at the first part of this post with the split personality.I've been invited to play a game by VanillaSeven. I used to do games like this every time, but as Icy BC pointed out in her post of this game, I don't usually play anymore. That's mostly because I'm usually way behind on everything, but with a little bit of laziness thrown in there too. But this time I'll play. It ties in perfectly with another post I had planned.

You can find VanillaSeven's post with this game here. Read it. It's a very good one.

Here are the rules of the game:
1. Go to your photo files, select the 8th photo folder.
2. Select the 8th photo in that folder.
3. Post that photo along with the story behind it.
4. Then challenge 8 blogging friends to do the same.

Of course, any of you who have known me for awhile know that I almost always cheat at these games by never picking any specific others to continue the game. So I'll do like Poetic Shutterbug did, and invite anyone who wants to play to continue the game.

The photo above is the 8th photo in my 8th folder of photos. It's now a few years old. This is the amphitheater at Heritage Park, a nature park that I've been planning to go back to any day now. This was the day I discovered this amphitheater. It's hidden very well. They have concerts here every week in the summer.

I took this photo while I was standing on a hill that looks down on it. The hill creates a slope where people can sit and see the stage clearly. The last time I stood on this hill the grass was covered, and I really mean covered, with goose crap. Those Canada geese can really mess up a place. They used to gather here in flocks of hundreds. But now they're all gone.

I've mentioned before that the Canada geese that used to flock around here have disappeared. They used to stay here throughout the year. But last fall they all left for the winter. A very small amount have come back, but a hundred times more of them have failed to return. One of the reasons is in the picture above.

Those who run Heritage Park decided that they'd had enough of the destructive pests, the Canada geese. So they put these fake wolves in all of the favorite stomping grounds of the geese. I'd say it's worked very well. There are no geese there anymore. But what about the other places?

I'm not sure why the geese haven't come back. At my usual place, Carpenter Lake, there were 17 geese in the lake before they left. Now there are only 4 that have come back. It's all a huge mystery to me. I want my geese back!

Since I was missing the goofy antics of all the geese, I decided to do something about it. I went on a road trip to Island Lake State Recreation Area. That's where I found this guy swimming around with that duck and another goose. But even in this huge state park there were only two geese!

Where have all the geese gone?

I never found an answer to that question. But I did at least get the geese to entertain me a little bit. So I have a new episode of Rat TV, with the two Canada geese swimming towards me back to shore just so they could entertain me. Geese are such clowns! I love every one of them.

I've been asked a few questions about my camera in the last few days. I didn't respond before because I've been away a lot, so I'll answer them here. My camera is a Canon Powershot SX20 IS. It's not a DSLR, because I didn't want to have to change lenses. It has both macro and super macro. I've tried them both without zooming, and I'm still having a bit of trouble getting macro shots. I've been practicing with it at home, so I'm beginning to learn. I'll explain everything in detail once I begin to get successful macro shots with it. I'm sure it will be soon.

Nature Center Magazine is evolving quickly, with new guest contributors and new articles, so there will now sometimes be more than one article a day. Today is a new Nature Site Of The Week by Emma. Check it out to see another very good website to visit.


  1. What a great video of the geese. Geese are a lot of fun to watch I guess because they are so big and so beautiful. I love to watch them take off and land. That really was a good video.
    Have a wonderful day.

  2. That is interesting about how the wolf decoys scare off the Geese. I have read that many parks have a problem with the mess large numbers will cause. I will have to come back and check into the game and watch the video. I have the same camera and also have had trouble using the macro. Sometimes just turning it off and back on helps. It acts like my laptop and needs a reboot.

  3. I wonder if the goofy hot-cold-warm weather pattern has put the geese off schedule. I doubt that there is any major drop in the population overall. It took unregulated hunting to put a dent in them in the past. Now most of us would welcome a little more hunting. They are majestic, but they can be a real nuisance.

  4. Twenty years ago the geese were unusual, where now they have overpowered a few areas,even closing a few beaches.I was amazed they can eat enormous amounts.There are some tremendous flocks near me, during the winter they seem larger.Real impessive to watch a fly over for over 20 minutes.We have a major street near my home that has duck crossing signs up to warn drivers of crossings from 3 lagoons on one side to 3 others . The Canadians are taming out with the domestic and you see kids throwing them bread.

  5. Sorry, I do not find your geese over here either. I still remember very well that you kept peeping at them during the breeding season last year. This must be the reason.

  6. Terrific video, Ratty. I know the geese in Golden Gate Park were a bit annoying with their generous droppings of fertilizer but they are so interesting to watch. I guess you have to accept the good with the bad!

    Jo and I had such fun with the squirrels the other day in the Botannical Gardens. They were like whirling dervishes, almost like they were on speed or something. They weren't at all hesitant to come right up to us but it was hard to get a picture. As soon as we'd get our cameras up to our faces, they'd skitter off lickety split in another direction. No wonder they were skinny critters.

  7. Heritage Park sounds so familiar to me. Is it in South Field? Beautiful picture amphitheater! I like watching the geese at Belle Isle, but their droppings are just covered the ground, and not very inviting..

  8. Hmm a mystery. I wonder why the geese are not returning in the other areas. They are fun to watch. Hope you can find out more about why they aren't coming back

  9. I hope the geese return for you next year Ratty,,,,,don't forget to let us know if you find them!

  10. Ratty, those geese can be messy but you're right they are so much fun to watch. Since your camera has both setting, you don't have to zoom for either. You have to get close though, macro within 5 to 6 inches, super macro within a half an inch. Check your image stabilization as well, that may cause the blurriness.

  11. The geese fell for the old "black wolf on a stick", eh?!

  12. All the geese flew up to the U.P...we've been seeing a million here...I have a family that has moved into our yard by the lake's dock!

  13. That black board wolf really fooled them. I think crows are slightly smarter, since scarecrow is more complicated :D

  14. @Icy BC
    Heritage Park is in Farmington Hills on Farmington Rd. Southfield is just to the east. The park is a very nice nature park for anybody. It's a good sized place that has a lot of different things. And the officials there are always friendly.

  15. Wow, geese are not very bright if they are scared away by a fake wolf on a stick! My human likes them though - she wanted to get a couple because she heard they make great watch "dogs," but we get so many coyotes here that she would constantly be worrying about them (she doesn't get any goats for the same reason... not to mention that we live in the heart of Los Angeles!).

    My human was thinking of getting a Canon like yours, then she did some research and decided a different camera would be better suited for her specific needs. Then she went to Fry's to try it out and spent 20 minutes playing around with the Sony DSC-HX1 instead, which is actually pretty similar to your Canon... and she had so much fun with it, she decided to get it. I had no idea that humans were so particular about those flashy boxes!

  16. Thanks Ratty for the reply!

  17. The park looks inviting and I bet the wolfy scarecrow is doing a good job out there. =D

    Interesting video Ratty and it almost looks like the geese were posing exclusively for your video. I'm sure they're avid followers of your blog, and if that's the case then your mystery is solved!

    Check out the nearest net cafe and you'll find all those missing geese happily browsing your blog. =D