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

Port Hardy Mayor Dennis Dugas votes in favour of eliminating overtime pay for confidential secretary

“I think when staff makes a recommendation I have to support staff’s recommendation.”

PHOTOS: Port McNeill residents remember the fallen

A huge crowd of Port McNeill residents came out on Nov. 11… Continue reading

New Coast Guard radar boosts marine traffic monitoring off B.C. coast

Six radar installations set up for Georgia Strait to Queen Charlotte Strait to Prince Rupert

Port Alice resident a descendant of two Aboriginal war heroes

Charlie and Henry Byce are Canada’s most decorated father and son in history.

Port Hardy council hesitant to formalize question period in agendas, refers it to committee

In first act as new council, representatives were uncertain about formalizing question periods.

Trudeau offers to help Pacific islands face climate change impact

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with the leaders from the Pacific island nations on Saturday during the APEC Summit in Papua New Guinea

Search for contaminant continues at Little Qualicum Cheeseworks

Island company ‘blown away’ by support after E. coli recall of Qualicum Spice cheese

Price makes 36 saves as Habs edge Canucks 3-2

Late goal lifts Montreal past Vancouver

BC Minister of Agriculture loses stepson to accidental overdose

Lana Popham announces death of her 23-year-old stepson, Dan Sealey

Canadian military’s template for perfect recruits outdated: Vance

Gen. Jonathan Vance, the chief of defence staff says that the military has to change because the very nature of warfare is changing, particularly when it comes to cyber-warfare

‘Toxic’ chosen as the Word of the Year by Oxford Dictionaries

Other top contenders for 2018 include ‘gaslighting’ and ‘techlash’

RCMP bust illegal B.C. cannabis lab

Marijuana may be legal but altering it using chemicals violates the Cannabis Act

Canada defeats Germany 29-10 in repechage, moves step closer to Rugby World Cup

Hong Kong needs a bonus-point win over Canada — scoring four or more tries — while denying the Canadians a bonus point

Avalanche Canada in desperate need of funding

The organization provides avalanche forecasting for an area larger than the United Kingdom

Most Read