Today's animal notes

Friday, February 03, 2006
Nothing scientific. Nothing posited. Just an observation.

I live in central Virginia and every fall (and all through the winter) geese migrate north. Yes, north. When I lived in Jersey (and other places) they migrated south for the winter--which was what I thought was normal.

However there is a good explanation. Geese seem to enjoy wintering in the Chesapeake Bay which is north of where I live.

Okay. All settled.

Except it is the 3rd of February and for the last three days I've noticed geese flying south!

Do they think winter is over? In past seasons I've noted them migrating north all through the winter months. Some just plan a few weeks winter vacation, I guess, and get a late start.

But heading back south this early?

We've had a very very warm winter so far here in Central Virginia. I've actually had the air conditioning on several times. And we've had a few thunderstorms, rare for this time of year here. The NWS (National Weather Service) guy (well, one of them anyway) looked up the records for the last time there was such a long sequence of Pacific storms hitting the Northwest. Day after day after dreary day of rain for them, like this year. That season (it was back in the mid '50's), he discovered, the weather was also much warmer than normal in Virginia.

What's new is old all over again. Or whatever.

So, I guess the geese know their weather history too.

Except the NWS guy said we got a lot of snow in March that year back in the fifties.

Well, since history never repeats itself exactly, I suspect the geese may be right.


RogerA said...

Hmmm--it looks like blogspot may have gone bonkers--whatever, Syl--I live on the pacific flyway and the Columbia Basin is home to enormous amounts of Canadian Geese--they winter here irrespective of conditions and cast about from November through the Spring taking advantage of Grant County Agricultural lands (we are, ahem, the largest ag producer in Wa state). It is not unusual to see them flying in counter-intuitive directions--we are also fortunate to have a small group of swans that winter over--gorgeous birds.

We also have numerous coyotes--in fact at least one major pack within a couple hundred yards of where I live--they do keep small dog and feral cat population down (burp)

Rick Ballard said...

The stutter is fixed. I haven't seen much in unusual migration this year. I did get to watch a couple thousand snow geese for a while a couple weeks ago but they pass through every year.

Our honkers don't go home. And they're not what I'd call "wild" anymore, either. They're so tame that some people have taken to shooting off their tail feathers (with pellet guns) to keep them off of docks. They just won't "shoo".

Luther McLeod said...

Hope for the world? Just a few tail feathers now and again.

No geese in Arizona, no rain either.

Syl said...

I thought it didn't go through at all so went to sleep.

Well, I suspect this phenomenon may be local. As is weather, generally. I have never seen geese around here fly south this time of year.

Shrug. Probably completely meaningless. But what the hey. What I did find interesting was the same extreme weather pattern (so many Pacific storms one after another coinciding with above normal temps in Va) occurred a few decades ago as well.