Bosque Liftoff


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The snow geese flock was gathered on the field, each individual member mostly minding its own business. Some were dozing in the sunlight of the unusually warm winter day. Some were moving from one side of the flock to the other, its business unknown to all else. Some were making a half-hearted effort to forage, but food was plenty this year, so there was no need to work hard at it. Mostly, though, the flock was peaceful and as calm as snow geese ever are. Such was life in the fields at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico.

For some reason, perhaps a major one such as a coyote nearby, or perhaps a minor such as a shadow that just didn’t look right, the geese at the far end of the flock suddenly took to the wing, leaving in a flurry and a frenzy. This alarmed the geese next to them, who also immediately took off, for it doesn’t pay to stick around and see what the commotion is really all about. The wave of lift offs moved swiftly from back to front, with row after row going from a peaceful, restful state to flight, all in an instant. The ground seemed as if it was being peeled away and up as this lift off happened, as wave after wave of birds rose up and into the air. The entire lift off, over a thousand birds, was over in just a few seconds. But what amazing seconds those were!

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