The artist captures Canada Geese in flight over a seascape in this watercolour.

Wintering to the south is for the birds

Gordon Henschel reflects on B.C.'s special place in the birding world.

My wife’s hearing is better than mine, so every October she alerts me to “The Wild Goose call” with a “Did you hear that?”  I’m not sure that my usual response of “Hear what?” is one resulting from poor hearing or a reluctance to admit that summer is over. Over or not, the sound of Canada Geese overhead is always thrilling.

This October, Ann and I went to Manitoba to see fall colours and friends and relatives; both a blessing to warm the heart. We had a great time visualizing and socializing but one of the special things we did was travel north of Winnipeg to Oak Hammock Marsh, one of North America’s birding hotspots.

This 36-square-kilometre Wildlife Management Area features a restored prairie marsh, waterfowl lure crops, artesian springs, some of Manitoba’s last remaining patches of tall-grass prairie and 30 kilometres of trails to explore. This time of year there can be as many as 200,000 waterfowl migrating through here every day; there were geese everywhere!

The Giant Canada Goose, which migrates through here, can weigh up to 20 pounds and live up to 30 years. There are also over two million Snow Geese that make their way through here each fall to winter in the Gulf of Mexico.

The West Coast of B.C., however, is a very special place for geese and other waterfowl. With our warmer climate, many of them winter here! So when you hear their call, they may be giving signals to their buddies saying, “Hey, this is a great place to set up our winter camp”!

While many of our “Snow Bird” buddies are south bound, Ann and I are convinced that “this is a great place to set up our winter camp”.

Gordon Henschel owns an art gallery in Nimpkish Heights. www.henschel.ca.

 

Just Posted

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Tier 3 Bantam Championships

“The packed arena and electricity within was fantastic.”

Port Hardy RCMP issues warning about recent overdose

“Our primary concern is public safety. We are urging the public to be aware of what is circulating.”

Port Hardy RCMP looking for volunteers who are interested in public safety

“The volunteer program will include community and crime prevention programs”

Suspicious fire in Alert Bay burns two homes, spreads to nearby bush

Police say underage suspects have been identified

VIDEO: North Island Bantam Eagles tie Dawson Creek Canucks in front of massive hometown crowd in Port Hardy

The Tier 3 Bantam Championships continued in style last night at the Don Cruickshank Memorial Arena.

Sparks fly as SUV speeds down wrong side of Highway 1 trying to flee RCMP

Captured on video, the vehicle headed westbound against oncoming traffic before crashing

Judges on Twitter? Ethical guidance for those on the bench under review

Canadian judges involvement in community life are among issues under review

Trudeau calls May 6 byelection for B.C. riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith

The riding opened up when Sheila Malcolmson resigned in January

Calgary captain has 3 points as Flames torch Canucks 3-1

Giordano leads way as Alberta side cracks 100-point plateau

Fire crews battle large blaze at Courtenay hostel

Courtenay Fire Chief Don Bardonnex said nobody was injured

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

Province announces $18.6 million for B.C. Search and Rescue

The funding, spread over three years, to pay for operations, equipment, and training

Late-season wave of the flu makes its round in B.C.

BC Centre for Disease Control reported 50 per cent jump in flu cases in first weeks of March

Most Read