Variations on a Theme | Canada Geese

Here I am again, at the William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge to create a variation on a theme… from a post I wrote just a few days ago.

The refuge was originally established to provide habitat for various populations of Canada Geese.

Canada Geese arrived in throngs… one after another… wedges, skeins, and plumps.

Meanwhile, on the ground, thousands of geese startled…

as the new-arrivals sought out places to land.

Dusky geese, variations on a theme… a subspecies of the Canada Goose, formed what looked like a low-level fog of birds.

The flocks hugged the ground; then settled after the larger throngs of Canada Geese surveyed the situation and selected landing zones further away.

The Willamette Valley Refuges provide migrating Canada geese with what they need to survive during the fall and winter and make the trek back to Alaska in the spring. To prepare for the spring flight and subsequent nesting period, geese need food, water, and sanctuary. All of these items are provided on the Willamette Valley Refuges where thousands of geese spend the winter.

The dusky is a subspecies of Canada goose that breeds only in the Copper River Delta area on the south-central coast of Alaska and on islands in the Prince William Sound and Gulf of Alaska. They winter primarily in the Willamette Valley and along the lower Columbia River of Oregon and Washington. The dusky represents one of the smallest subspecies populations of geese in North America.

In the fall duskies migrate south along the Pacific coast, arriving at their wintering grounds of southwest Washington and western Oregon in October and November. Here they feed on nutrient-rich grasses that grow in the wet, mild winters until they depart in early April.

Cut from: William L. Finley NWR website

Weekly Photo Challenge: 01-24-18 “Variations on a Theme


    1. I cut this from an article written about the refuge to somewhat answer your question:
      “It was impossible to count how many birds I saw during a brief visit one day last week. Perhaps 10,000. That total was actually disappointing, because on a previous visit, a refuge manager I was with estimated the number at 50,000.
      The flocks are primarily a half-dozen subspecies of Canada geese, plus lots of ducks (especially mallards and pintails) and tundra swans.
      The sound of the birds was just as impressive as the sight.” (Terrry Richard, The Oregonian, January 2014)

      This description is very much the same as ours!

  1. Looks much like the park where I walk, Jane, although we don’t get quite as many geese. We do get a lot, though, sometimes hundreds on the river. Many of them don’t seem to migrate anymore, so we also have poop on the path year-round, definitely not a blessing. 🙂


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