The Bird Meme: Day 12

Day 12: A bird you used to love but don't anymore

This is a somewhat challenging prompt, as there aren't a lot of birds I dislike. Still, the wording suggests that I can talk about a bird I now like LESS than I used to, so I'm going to settle for that.

On the face of it, the Canada Goose is a handsome, even striking bird, but I'm long past the point of being able to judge it purely on appearance. Even taking into account its pleasantly raucous honk, with all the associated images of freedom in the skies, Branta canadensis is just too ubiquitous in distribution, too noisome in its habits, for me to love it unconditionally. When I was young, seeing their sleek black heads and vivid white chinstraps was a treat, but since they've more or less given up on migration and settled in as consumers of the Great American Lawn, there's not much delight to be had anymore. Instead, I'm forced to consider the lakesides and river rocks and golf courses and parklands they've festooned with their great green turds, like the product of a Play-Doh Fun Factory gone rogue.

Worse, from a birder's perspective, they've become both more demanding and more confusing. Where once taxonomists declared that a single species roamed the wetlands of our continent, there are now nearly a dozen subspecies, including the Dusky, Aleutian, and Richardson's Canada Goose, and one, the Cackling Goose, has achieved full species status. The Cackler is at least drastically smaller than the typical Canada--little larger than a Mallard--but distinguishing the others is a matter of calculating shades of grey-brown and centimeters of size, and I'm just not sure it's worth it for a bird whose primary role in life seems to be imitating a high-speed pasta maker.

I'll never hate them--they're far too elegant, and when they have goslings among them, their little flocks turn into adorable family portraits for all to see. But after years of living between two ponds where they were frequent visitors, I'd have to say the bloom is off the rose. Sic transit gloria mundi.

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This page contains a single entry by Peter Cashwell published on September 25, 2017 8:49 PM.

The Bird Meme: Day 11 was the previous entry in this blog.

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