Homeless in Vancouver: Fairview’s returning Canada geese take winter snow in stride

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      I’m glad they’re back.

      But I wonder how all the Canada geese who returned—amid much honking—to Vancouver’s Fairview neighbourhood in early January feel.

      They must be kicking themselves for jumping the gun.

      They’re not snow geese after all!

      Despite the early signs of spring being snowed under, the geese are managing.
      Stanley Q. Woodvine

      However, on Friday (February 15th) I found a pair of them languidly cropping the exposed patches of an otherwise snow-covered lawn fronting an apartment building in the 1200 block of West 11th Avenue.

      And I have to say that they didn’t look the least bit put out as they pecked and waded through the few centimetres of sudden winter snow that was covering any signs of an early spring, which may have drawn them back to the area.

      I should have remembered that Canada geese, if not entirely unflappable, are not the sort of bird to get their feathers ruffled over a little bit of snow.

      Documenting the return of Canada’s landed residents

      Despite the early signs of spring being snowed under, the geese are managing.
      Stanley Q. Woodvine

      Although I had been seeing and hearing Canada geese in the Fairview neighbourhood since the beginning of January, my first chance to actually photograph some did not occur until the last week of the month, on the 27th. This was in an the alley of the 1300 block, on the south side of West Broadway.

      The pair seen January 28th in the alley of the 1300 block, off West Broadway.
      Stanley Q. Woodvine

      The Canada geese I snapped that January morning, perching in their stately way atop a three-storey walk-up, may have been the same couple that I saw on Friday afternoon.

      And the two seen on the morning of February 15th, in the 1400 block of West Broadway.
      Stanley Q. Woodvine

      They may also have been the same ones that I saw January 28, in the alley of the 1300 block off West Broadway and on Friday morning atop a building in the 1400 block of West Broadway.

      For all that I adore them, I know relatively little about Canada geese.

      I have read that they mate for life and in my experience they are rarely seen except in pairs. They appear to be extremely territorial and they evidently share my fondness for the Fairview neighbourhood.

      Like so many others, Canada geese apparently come here for the grass.
      Stanley Q. Woodvine

      Beyond the above, almost the only thing I can say with certainty about Canada geese is this: every single one of them looks identical to every other single one of them!

      The only reason I do not believe that all the pairs of Canada geese I am seeing—throughout Fairview—are just the same two birds is because I watched several skeins of them flying back into the neighbourhood in early January.

      And because of the other thing I know with certainty—they are just too lazy to do that much running back and forth.

      Note: they are only referred to as skeins in the air. On the ground, a group of Canada geese should be called a federation. Trust me on this and feel free to tell all of your friends.

      Now please stand for our national anthem:

      O Canada geese!
      Our home and native geese!
      True geese love in all of us command.

      With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
      The True Geese strong and free!

      From far and wide,
      O Canada geese, we stand on guard for thee.

      Et cetera.

      And don’t forget to sign the petition on your way out to include them on the obverse of the Canadian hundred-dollar bill.