Thursday, April 25, 2013

Onward to C in the Earth Day ABC book

C is for Canada geese…or is it Canadian geese? And also Cowbirds

First of all I have to admit I used to call these large birds Canadian geese when I do know that the actual name is Canada geese.  I think they were migratory but as of the last few years, they are pretty much a year long resident of Virginia and its waterways.  It is not uncommon to hear the honking overhead as flocks of them travel from one pond, lake or river to another.

They can be problematic, however, since many airports are around rivers.  In fact National Airport is right next to the Potomac River.  They have tried all sorts of things to keep them from flying too near the planes taking off, but that is not always possible.  Usually the damage is not excessive but just last week they did have to change an engine due to a bird strike.  (My hubby works for a major airline) 

As technology and nature try and work out a viable relationship, I sit outside on my deck and listen to the geese.  They are truly beautiful creatures.  Lively, in their family groups because Canada geese mate for life.

C is for Canada, Candian, or whichever geese you decide.

I had the C entry post for my ABC book of nature all set.  And then this morning while checking the blooms on my lilies of the valley I saw a little cowbird amidst the plants. He didn’t appear to be hurt and eagerly jumped on my finger.  So I put him on a nearby branch so that no neighborhood cats would get him.  As of this writing he is still sitting there. 

Cowbirds have two defining habits.  One is that they are nest parasites.  These birds lay they eggs in the nests of other birds and since they are bigger and mature quicker, the other chicks in the nest sometimes starve.  The other is that they eat the insects off of cows helping the cow to be more comfortable, hence the name cowbirds.  So they are yin and yang, good and bad depending upon which habit you are looking at.  I hope this little guy survives.


Craftymoose Crafts said...

I never saw a cowbird--they are really pretty. We have several beaches around our lake & it is a morning ritual for the lifeguards to rake the sand from the geese droppings.

Christine said...

we have too many Canada Geese in our area,it's a problem.

Magic Love Crow said...

I have never heard of Cowbirds before?? Wow, he sat on your finger! How amazing is that? So many people don't like Canada Geese, but you know what, what are they suppose to do? So much of their land is being taken from them. I hate it. I know in some areas where they nest around here, the people go shake the eggs, so the chicks die and there would be less geese. What would happen if I did that to a human because there is too many of us around? Sorry to rant Crystal!! ;o)

Judy Adamson said...

I only seem to hear the geese honking once a year as they pass overhead - and what a racket they make! So I don't think they're a problem around these parts and I love to hear and see them!

I'd never heard of Cowbirds before either! You are very brave to let one sit on your finger, Crystal. I love the birds in my garden but I like them to keep a bit of distance. A young blackbird flew into my kitchen last year and terrified me - and I didn't enjoy all the cleaning up after I'd finally persuaded it to fly back outside :D

Always something new to learn on your wonderful blog, Crystal :)

maddyrose said...

I have heard of Cowbirds but had no idea of what they looked like. Canada Geese and Cowbirds, both are great symbols for the letter C. I really am enjoying your ABC book posts.

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