Through the mist of a farmer’s field I see nothing but stubble of last year’s crop, possibly corn. The trees beyond, so beautiful in the growing season are now like skeletons dripping water droplets from sticksy arms stretched out in the damp air. It’s as if they are sending out feelers because they can’t see.
But the Canada geese welcome the mist. They probably feel safer partly hidden from view by the fog. Day after day they have been feeding in this field, playing at being two-legged cows as they graze on the new shoots of grass the farmer is hoping to grow for silage.
I would like to mention that it is a misconception that Canada geese mate for life. They do mate for the duration of their partner’s life, but if one of them happens to die or be killed, they do “remarry” and have more children. Lots! So many that they are considered a nuisance in urban areas. If they did not find a new breeding partner, Canada geese would long since have gone extinct.
Many of the Canada geese we see on Vancouver Island today are the result of a goose transplant of the Moffiti subspecies which are more predominant in flyways east of the west coast of British Columbia. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, young flightless birds were brought to the island and released in strategic locations. These transplanted birds seldom migrate and are considered resident populations, wintering and breeding in the general area of Vancouver Island.
During the fall migration of waterfowl, you will also see other varieties of Canada geese stopping to feed in the Comox Valley, and if you look closely, you will see the subtle differences in coloration and size. Often the smaller varieties have a higher-pitched call than the larger, local residents.
And, once again, I would like to stress, that migrant or not, none of them have passports, since they have no nationality and are not called “Canadian geese.” They are “Canada geese.” No passport required.