Saturday, 13 November 2021

Going South

 Almost every morning this week my breakfast has been interrupted by skeins of geese flying South West in the early morning light.    Led by one goose they form a V shape as they go across the sky and I feel a sense of excitement each time I see them.   How do they sense it is time to go?   How do they know where to go?   How do they usually arrive at the same place they spent Winter last year?  ?

Birds and animals are so much cleverer than we give them credit for aren't they? Most of the time.  But their sense of direction does sometimes go awry.   In today's Times is a story of a penguin who has made a 1,800 mile detour this year.   An Antarctic Penguin has this year made an unexpected 1,800 miles journey - a detour -  from the Antarctic, across the icy ocean 1800 miles to New Zealand.A young Adelie penguin, native to Antartica coastline has made landfall at Birdlings Flat Beach near Christchurch  in New Zealand.

A man walking along the beach saw what he though was a child's discarded toy but as he bend to pick it up it moved its head and he saw that it was a very emaciated and weak penguin.  It was very dehydrated and weak and has been fed on plenty of fish and given plenty of fluid.    He has made regular calls to the Royal New Zealand Air Force who have regular flights on the route but all requests to take the bird back have been rebuffed and now back to full health it has been released near to where it was found.   You would think they could have found room on a pland for one little bird wouldn't you?

 

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

I so agree. How hard would it be to put him into a dog crate with some fish & water. Pat

JayCee said...

Oh. I hope it survives in the unfamiliar environment.

Terra said...

I wish this hardy little explorer all the best. Yes, it would have been nice to fly him home.

Librarian said...

I wonder what reason was given for not helping the bird.

Tasker Dunham said...

How do they decide which goose is the leader? And they talk to each other as they fly by. What are they saying? "I don't think much of his leadership."

thelma said...

It might be that someone will start a petition to fly him home safely.

Debby said...

I seems like it could have been a do-able thing, doesn't it? Poor little fellow. It might just have been kinder to take the poor thing to a zoo where he could have been with his own kind in a controlled environment.

Have you ever read Barbara Kingsolver's "Flight Behavior" It is a human story but filled chock-a-block full of information about the migration of the monarch butterfly. It left me marveling how a insect can hatch, cocoon, and then emerge to fly to Mexico to a winter site it has never seen?

There are a great many things to marvel at in this tired old world.

Virginia said...

I understand that the Department of Conservation (referred to as DOC, in case you’re reading something written in New Zealand) believes it’s better for him/her to make his own way back. They said it’s probably a sign of global warming that he’d got this far. They head to deeper water for their fishing, and the warming waters may have caused him to end up too far from base.

A few years ago scientists attached a tracking device to a penguin that’d been rehabilitated here and we watched it until it disappeared close to Antarctica- whether it lost its tracker, , got eaten, or the device failed, of course we never discovered!

Bonnie said...

Geese are amazing birds to watch in flight. We have many geese here and I love to watch them flying overhead in their patterns. I hope that little penguin will be okay. You would think they could take him home on a flight that was going there anyway.

I hope you have a lovely weekend Pat!

Heather said...

Poor little penguin. I hope someone looks after it.
We lived near a canal at one time and would often hear geese or swans flying over the house at night. I love the sound their wings make and the way they call to each other. I wonder if those you heard were making for Slimbridge or some other wild fowl reserve.

Chris said...

We have geese too morning and evening... poor penguin. When we went to Australia my husband insisted to went to Philip Island to see the penguins, they were quite small and waddled when they walked, but very cute.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Never thought of Slimbridge Heather.


Interesting to read Virginia's comments further down - seems there may be good reason not to offer the penguin help.

Susan said...

The ducks are flying south here too. When you watch them flying in V formation, occasionally the lead bird switches off to another bird. So interesting.

Cro Magnon said...

I feel the same with the coming and going of The Cranes. We always wave to them as they leave for N Africa, and welcome them back again in early Spring. They fly very high, and often circle. Very emotional.

Derek Faulkner said...

They could be Pink-footed Geese. These geese breed in Spitsbergen, Iceland and Greenland and every winter around 360,000 overwinter in the UK, with many thousands doing so in and around Norfolk.

David M. Gascoigne, said...

As you point out, birds in general have an impeccable and unerring ability to navigate, and there are several reasons why an individual arrives far from where it ought to be. What is often overlooked, it seems to me, is that from time to time a bird must be born with impaired function, thereby impeding its sense of direction. Perhaps such is the case with this wayward penguin. I hope they can find a way to repatriate it as soon as possible.

Graham Edwards said...

I wish the geese here would migrate. The large majority of them now live here all year around and they are a real pain in the bahookie.

Touch wood I've never lost a complete post because the drafts seem to be saved by Blogger but I am always pressing an unknown key which deletes my comments and I have to start again. I really dislike that.

I have to say that the logistics of flying a penguin down to where it came from sound like a nightmare. I know from friends working on the Antarctic Survey that even getting them in and out and supplied can be a trial - an expensive one too.

The bike shed said...

There is much fascinating research on the navigation abilities of birds. It seems that many have magnetite in their brains - a sort of inbuilt compass which guides the way. It is believed that some birds - robins for example - can actually 'see' magnetic lines, in a way that would be entirely alien to you and me.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Interesting what 'say about the penguin Graham - I don't know that we shall ever know what happens to it. I shall add the word 'bahookie' to my vocabulary - don't actually know what the bahookie is but I can but guess.
David - your suggestion presents another problem altogether - not sure what the answer is there.
Another case here for my imaginary room. Wouldn't it be nice if we could all sit round in 'our' room, a good log fire in the grate, a drink of our choice in hand (my imaginary room has a very well-stocked drinks cabinet)and justspend the afternoon talking about geese and their migratory habits?

The Feminine Energy said...

I have always believed that animals are far far FAR superior to humans! Always have been, always will be. ~Andrea XOXOXO

Margaret Butterworth said...

"The couple returning from the US said it was a good place to live so long as you were never ill, poor or vulnerable."

Please read Cup on the Bus blog to find the absolute shocking truth about this statement.