Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

January 1, 2011

Canada Goose in flight

Filed under: Birds, favorite places, Gilbert Water Ranch — richditch @ 6:33 pm
Canada Goose in flight

Canada Goose in flight

I have mixed feelings about the Canada Goose. When I started birding in New Jersey in the early 1970’s they were a sign of winter and a welcome feature of wetlands. One of the earliest bird photos that I’m still willing to show is of a Canada Goose. And who doesn’t like hearing the wild sound of  large flock of these birds raising from a cold marsh just after dawn?

But in much of the mid Atlantic states (including NJ) the Canada Goose has become a major nuisance and environmental problem. Instead of returning north when the seasons change large numbers of Canada Geese now stay put and fill the spaces that would be taken by other waterfowl returning north to the mid Atlantic region. They especially love the manicured lawns of large corporate parks.

When we moved to Phoenix in 1994 my perspective on the Canada Goose changed again. There was only one reliable place to see this species in the area: at a shopping mall in Scottsdale that had a couple large ponds and a nice lawn just like the corporate parks in NJ. So this species became “interesting” again because it wasn’t common and there was no guarantee that I’d see one if I didn’t drive to Scottsdale.

Now that I’ve been here for 16 years I’ve seen the status of this bird change again. The small flock at Scottsdale has gotten a lot bigger. And a couple years ago they moved into the Water Ranch at Gilbert where this shot was taken. I now see them on every visit. They might not be there in June, July, or August – I”m not there in those months, either. I expect their numbers to continue increasing untgil they become a problem just as they have in the east.

For the moment, though, I can still pretend they are a rarity by following the reports from Tucson where people continue to report them as birds of interest when one shows up at a local park.

Nikon D200, 300/2.8 AF-S Nikkor plus TC14E (1.4x), ISO 400, 1/800th second at f/9.



  1. Boise has Canada Geese year round, but loads of them winter there and their pooh is particularly disturbing to the local park walkers. I enjoy seeing their yellow goslings in the spring.

    Great in-flight photo! Can you share some tips in a future post about how to get the whole bird in focus in flight? I have been attempting this and have all kinds of photos that could have been great had I had the whole bird in focus. I just can’t seem to get it right yet.

    Comment by Robert Mortensen — January 1, 2011 @ 9:58 pm

  2. I don’t get much opportunity to practice bird-in-flight photography, so any sharp shot I get is mostly luck.

    Check out this article at Ron Dudley’s Feathered Photography blog. Ron does some exceptional work on flying hawks and owls in Utah and provides helpful advice on his field technique.

    Comment by richditch — January 1, 2011 @ 10:28 pm

  3. Rich, I’ve got fond memories of huge flocks of Canada Geese wintering in the corn field behind my childhood home on the Colorado Front Range. They always make me think of home. And of Aldo Leopold. “A March morning is only as drab as he who walks in it without a glance skyward, ear cocked for geese.” And, “What a dull world if we knew all [there is to know] about geese!”

    Comment by Brian Gatlin — January 2, 2011 @ 9:46 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: