Post by Jerry Friedman Post by Cheryl Post by tonbei
I have a question about the following sentences from a novel.
Dozens of Canada geese have congregated around an old sycamore tree.
They sit in the grass like
dark, long-necked gourds, and puff and flap and peck for food.
(The Last Precinct by P. Cornwell)
When you say "puff and flap" to describe a behaviour of a bird, what
behaviour would it be like?
"flap" here means a bird flapping its wings as I understand, but I
couldn't get a picture of "puff".
Sometimes birds puff themselves out; make themselves look bigger by
puffing out their chests or fluffing up their feathers. I think I've
read that the feather-fluffing also helps them keep warm - but I know
there are posters who know far more about birds than I do!
Yes, some birds fluff out their feathers to keep warm, but I'm not
sure Canada Geese do.
They do seasonal migrations away from places that get cold in winter,
although I'm sure
they could manage a little feather-fluffing on a cool day. In benign
climates, such as Vancouver,
they stay year-round.
Post by Jerry Friedman
I suspect it's more along the lines of your
Canada Geese also make a hissing sound in response to predators,
but from a glance at the book, I think the narrator was looking through
a window at geese that weren't all that close.
I see Canada geese every day of the year. They graze in the parks in my
neighbourhood. The only time
I've seen one hiss or otherwise display a threat towards humans has
been during nesting season.
There are, I think, some dominance things going on among the geese themselves
and with other water fowl. That flattened-neck posture in the link
above is familiar to me.
They bully the ducks in local ponds, and they make way for the swans.
There are no natural predators of Canada geese in Vancouver other than
an occasional urbancoyote, and the local parks board controls coyotes
to protect small pets and children. Our local geese have it good. They
and we try to ignore them while trying not to step on their droppings.