Last night while walking the dog, I observed several large flocks of geese flying overhead. What's up with that? So, a call to Phil Krajewski, president of the Tiadaghton Audubon Society, cleared up some questions.
At the recent Christmas Bird Count, 340 Canadian geese were counted in Phil's district alone. Depending on the year, Canadian geese are often the most prolific bird observed at the count.
The large flocks observed Thursday night probably were prompted to take wing by Wednesday's snowfall. Almost all bird migrations are based on the availability of food. The geese, theorized Phil, could have wintered over if the winter was mild like last year. The 9+ inches of snow cut off the food supply for the birds, prompting the migration south.
For example, in 1981 Phil spotted a kingfisher in mid-January in -10 degree weather. The bird was sitting on a wire overlooking a rainbow trout farm outside Coudersport where the water had not frozen and a food source was still available.
Of course, that led to a conversation about the Christmas Bird Count, held Dec. 15 in Tioga County, the results of which might be another story.