Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat,
Please to put a penny in an old man’s hat;
If you haven’t got a penny, a ha’penny will do,
If you haven’t got a ha’penny, God bless you.
(English nursery rhyme, set to music in the late 1800′s and often sung as a round, appeared in The Real Mother Goose book in 1916)
The geese flying overhead are very noisy these days. It is seen as a sign of the season, but I wondered why, instead of flying south, they were all flying north! Perhaps they were all meeting up on the banks of Lake Ontario before deciding where to winter.
According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology here, there is plenty of grain left in the open corn fields and usually open waters in the lakes and ponds to allow them to stick around in some places in the winter. Our town lies along one of the traditional migration routes, but the numbers of geese around here in the winter definitely seem to be growing. The ponding areas around the malls are full of them all year-round.
Cornell also says, “Migrating flocks generally include loose aggregations of family groups and individuals, in both spring and fall. Flights usually begin at dusk, but may begin anytime of day, and birds fly both night and day. They move in a V formation, with experienced individuals taking turns leading the flock.”
So, long story short, I don’t know why there were so many geese flying north for several days. Perhaps our winter will be milder than usual!