Goose Flight

There is something magnificent about seeing an entire flock, a flock numbering in the thousands, take off all at once. There is something equally magnificent about watching a single bird fly, too. Each sight is stunning. Each is amazing. But let’s focus on the latter, shall we?

This is a snow goose flying straight and level at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. It was an unusually warm winter day, bright and sunny, and the birds seemed to be enjoying themselves. The Bosque del Apache’s managers ensure there is plenty of food to each for the tens of thousands of birds who winter here, and today the refuge fields were full of bounty. There was no need to struggle to eat, leaving plenty of time for the birds to become restless.

This snow goose seemingly was amusing itself by flying from one end of the flock to the other. Since a flock can spread out over an entire field, this isn’t as trivial as it sounds. There was the faintest of all breezes as well, enabling it to spread its wings and keep them there without having to flap very often. It also enabled me to photograph it perfectly in flight. If I didn’t know better, I would say that it has just the faintest hint of a smile as it is enjoying the excellent winter day.

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