Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Mesmerized by the Murmuration

Today presented a delightful opportunity to return to the Open Phenology philosophy:
Witness. Change. Together.

What: A murmuration of starlings! A truly mesmerizing sight! Curious about this? Read more here.
Where: At the south edge of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Other observers report that the flock makes its way here from Loring Park and then tends to continue West.
Observers: Abbie, Masami, Michael, Ben, Courtney, and others. Actually, this one is a real crowd pleaser. Everone walking by paused and commented.
Date/Time: Wednesday, November 30, 4:30 pm. The phenomena concluded by about 4:45.
Conditions: Overcast, around 40 degrees

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Honk If You Love

Canada Geese! Arriving to work this morning, I counted zero geese on the field. (But evidence of their recent "occupation" was scattered generously underfoot, if you know what I mean.) As we wound our way into the offices, my colleague Christopher and I chatted about the phenomenon—how the passing weeks saw their numbers increase, peak, and then diminish. Where are they now?

Where do Canada Geese go? As you've probably noticed, some of them will stick around over the winter months. But most of them make their way to the mid and southern United States. Here's a link to a distribution map, on Wikipedia:

Four more facts about the Canada Goose:
  • Scientists have tracked geese that have flown up to 1,000 km in a day. (You didn't expect a figure in miles, did you? Of course it would have to be metric since they're Canada Geese. 1000 km = 620 miles, approximately)
  • Maybe to you or me all Canada Geese look the same, but most scientists believe that there as many as eleven different races.
  • Canada Geese are monogamous and most couples stay together all of their lives.
  • The Canada Goose was once considered endangered. Game laws and habitat preservation programs have turned that around so effectively that they are now sometimes considered a pest.
Thank you, Internet, for these handy facts!