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Thousands of Canada geese stop by for a little lunch at Reedville Creek Park (video)

By Benjamin Brink
The Oregonian

I was driving north on Cornelius Pass Road in Hillsboro the second week of December when I noticed thousands of Canada geese in Reedville Creek Park. Like any good journalist, I decided to stop and chat.

Thousands of Canada geese stop by for a little lunch at Reedville Creek Park (video)

Thousands of Canada geese gathered at Reedville Creek Park in Hillsboro. They will likely be in Oregon until May when they return to Canada and Alaska. Benjamin Brink / The Oregonian

I was driving north on Cornelius Pass Road in Hillsboro the second week of December when I noticed thousands of Canada geese in Reedville Creek Park. Like any good journalist, I decided to stop and chat.

I approached slowly so as not to alarm them. They were stretched from the soccer goal posts all the way through the infield on the baseball diamond. The pitcher's mound was of particular interest as a watering hole had formed there. It was almost as if there was an orderly queue.

It wasn't hard to get them to talk. The problem was they all wanted to talk at once. A little confusing so I turned to the good folks at U.S. Fish and Wildlife in Portland and the Audubon Society of Portland.

I wanted to know why all the geese had converged on this field? What were they talking about? Shouldn't they be off to California for the winter?

I'm told large flocks of geese use specific locations based on the availability of forage and to facilitate protection from predators. Moving as a flock allows them to find adequate food resources and minimize the chance of any one individual being taken by a predator.

Male and female usually mate for life. Adults and juveniles often migrate as family groups and presumably, juveniles learn some behaviors from adults.

We're all used to seeing that classic "V" formation when the geese fly overhead. Birds figured out the energy savings in drafting long before we did. On long flights they switch off the lead spot in the "V" and distribute the savings as equally as possible.

Large numbers of migrant Canada geese along with six other subspecies of Canada geese will remain in northwest Oregon until early May when they will migrate north, primarily to Alaska. The reason the numbers of geese has grown over the years is the improvement in the habitat in the Willamette Valley.

Geese seem to have a lot to talk about, I'm told it's probably about all the different activities they're involved in — soccer field tastes great, baseball diamond has a good drinking hole, watch out for that dorky Oregonian photographer who wants to talk to us.

Word of caution: If you're going to wander out in the field to talk to the Canada geese best not to wear tennis shoes with a waffle. Thousands of geese, each maybe relieving themself once, you can guess the result.

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