Spring continues to push forward, a little bit more each day. This morning I heard red-winged blackbirds on the mountain. The robins are singing up a storm, too. Another two huge flocks of Canada geese honked over the cabin on their way north. It is early in the month for signs of spring to be so evident. Perhaps that is why the I’m noticing a few oddities around spring’s arrival. For example, the more typical pattern of Canada goose migration is to see dozens of flocks heading north within the space of just a day or two. This week, I have seen or heard a flock or two or no more than three each day on their northward flight. The flight isn’t as bunched into a day or two as it usually is.
In a normal year, once it gets cold, it stays cold, and waterfowl are forced to move ever further southward to find open water and food. This year, winter’s cold spells didn’t last as long as usual before a warm day or two broke the cold. As a result, the ice never got too thick, in some spots the water never entirely froze shut, especially if it had any flow at all or was in a spot where waterfowl congregated. Likely, the geese short-hopped their way around as the weather warmed or cooled. They had a lot of choices for where they would find open water.
In some years the geese congregate by the tens, if not the hundreds of thousands, in just a few spots, and most of them head north at the same time. One flock takes off, the others see that happen and before you know it, the second and third and fourth flocks are in the air too. This year the geese were not forced to bunch up at just a few sites with open water and so are spread out all over the place. As a result, they are spread out all over the place during their flights north, too. They may well be forced to bunch up somewhere north of me and wait for break-up, but not here.