Critter Alley

Critter Alley

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Cold Enough for You?

Some of the backyard gang

Our weather remains frigid with no relief in sight. Consequently, the small lake behind our house is almost completely frozen over, iced like a giant sheet cake with a white frosting of snow.

A large contingent of geese have made a home on the lake, with varying degrees of enthusiasm from neighbors. I enjoy seeing them and hearing the persistent honk-honk as they majestically fly over the house. But in fairness, they're not hanging out in my yard. Control of geese is an ongoing problem due to their destruction of vegetation and messy potty habits. In fact, Border Collies have become a key element in helping geese decide it's time to move along to another home.

No such effort (yet) has occurred here, so I continue to enjoy watching them, amazed as they stand on ice and swim in a small open area of literal ice water for hours and hours. It doesn't seem to bother them a bit. How do they do it?

According to the Geesepeace website, both geese and ducks have a special gland called the preen gland at the base of their tails where oil is produced to keep feathers water resistant. Under their outer feathers, they also have a downy layer that traps warm air against their skin and keeps the birds warm even in the coldest climate.

It's fascinating how "Mother Nature" provides. And with a forecast of more polar days to come, while dashing from car to building and back, I may soon be wishing for my own foolproof ability to stay warm!


irishoma said...

Hi Pat,
Watching geese fascinates me, too. Yesterday flocks were flying in their V formations, no doubt searching for a warm place to land.

BECKY said...

I love geese and ducks, too. But I also haven't been bombed with any of their droppings!!

diannagraveman said...

Nice piece and photo, too!

nlindabrit said...

I can't say I envy you the severe weather, Pat, but the geese and ducks sound wonderful!

Judy said...

I finally have my bird feeder operational (within reach to refill), but I think the birds gave up and moved on! Did see a female cardinal and some cedar waxwings a few days ago...wish they'd told their friends that the table was spread again!

lesley said...

hello Pat,
thanks forfollowing my blog. Well done for being included in Chicken soup for the soul.Someone gave me a copy some years ago when I was hitting a low patch(lost my partner aged 36years!)so I am aware of the book.I am very impressed by your inclusion.I have two Canada geese who visit every year and I also have a loathsome neighbour who threatens to shoot them which takes all my pleasure away when I see them arrive.

take care,

Baby Rocket Dog and Hootie said...

While up in Idaho we're real close to the Canadian border so the geese are around alot. There is plenty of water so they stay off folks property there. Thanks for visiting our blog! Happy new Year!
Smooches from pooches,
BabyRocketDog and Hootie
& their human, Cassie

RYKER said...

Here in Alaska we used Pigs for controlling the goose population on a small island near a float plane lake. The pigs live on the island and eat the eggs of the geese. Humm, that is different.