Snow Geese – Up and Away
Air Date: Week of December 9, 2011
(Photo: © Mark Seth Lender)
It’s migration time for many birds and Snow Geese are no exception. Writer Mark Seth Lender watched thousands of them take flight at their stopover in New Mexico.
GELLERMAN: The Bosque del Apache Wildlife Reserve is in south central New Mexico. The Wetlands of the Rio Grande floodplain are a perfect place for wintering snow geese. Tens of thousands of the birds flock together for several months feasting on corn that’s specially planted, since the snow geese now have to share their habitat with farmers. Writer Mark Seth Lender spent many days watching the birds, from their sunrise fly-out to sunset return.
[SOUNDS OF SNOW GEESE TAKING FLIGHT]
LENDER: A thousand snow geese take off all at once. The black flag flight feathers of the tips of their wings shirr like the blades of powerful engines. They crawl and scrawl their way onto the sky, white and black on cold clear blue, clinging there, slow motion before they truly free themselves from gravity, and rise.
To collide, full thrust, would be disastrous to fragile hollow bones. Somehow they avoid - the tree line, its nagging branches reaching; the interloping weight of a sandhill crane amongst them by mistake; the competition of their own with each other’s wings, coordinate: all up - all out - all down. Into this chaotic space they speed. Safe. Their voices, their limbs and bodies crushing the air into that sound endless ice age snows might have made - white noise over white, frozen ground.
[SOUNDS OF SNOW GEESE]
GELLERMAN: Mark Seth Lender is the author of “Salt Marsh Diary – A Year on the Connecticut Coast.” Mark has more to tell about the snow geese of the Bosque del Apache Reserve, for that and some of his photos, take a gander at our website LOE dot org. And there, you'll also find our new survey about Living on Earth - please take a few moments to fill it out, and let us know which of our stories soar and which lay an egg.
Living on Earth wants to hear from you!
Living on Earth
62 Calef Highway, Suite 212
Lee, NH 03861
Newsletter [Click here]
Donate to Living on Earth!
Living on Earth is an independent media program and relies entirely on contributions from listeners and institutions supporting public service. Please donate now to preserve an independent environmental voice.
Sailors For The Sea: Be the change you want to sea.
Innovating to make the world a better, more sustainable place to live. Listen to the race to 9 billion
The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment: Committed to protecting and improving the health of the global environment.
Contribute to Living on Earth and receive, as our gift to you, an archival print of one of Mark Seth Lender's extraordinary wildlife photographs. Follow the link to see Mark's current collection of photographs.
Buy a signed copy of Mark Seth Lender's book Smeagull the Seagull & support Living on Earth