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Geese Launching at Bosque del Apache

One of the great events in birdwatching
© Ingrid Truemper CC View Large

In winter, flocks of wintering Snow Geese, Ross’s Geese, and Sandhill Cranes stop at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Just before sunrise, the geese are a mass of kinetic and potential energy, like a symphony orchestra tuning up for a big performance. Hunger might launch the flock. Or maybe the sunrise. And then — without warning— they take off. Although it lasts only seconds, geese launching is one of the great events in birdwatching. This pulse of ten thousand wings rumbles through your bones … and stays a while.

Full Transcript

Transcript: 

BirdNote®

The Pulse of Ten Thousand Wings

By Bryan Pfeiffer

This is BirdNote.
In the darkness before dawn, the New Mexican desert is chilly and still — except for an odd commotion in an oasis near the Rio Grande. Something in the water seems to gather the starlight and convert it to a soft desert glow. It’s a congregation of white geese.
[Murmuring Snow Geese]
It’s December at Bosque (BOSS-kay) del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, a destination for magnificent flocks of wintering Snow Geese, Ross’s Geese, and Sandhill Cranes. In the hour before sunrise, the honking grows louder — and the tension mounts.
[LOUDER Murmuring Snow Geese]
The night sky fades to soft blue overhead; the sun creeps above the horizon. As they flap and honk, the geese are a mass of kinetic and potential energy, like a symphony orchestra tuning up for a big performance.
[More geese]
Hunger might launch the flock. Or maybe the sunrise. Or perhaps an eagle overhead. The geese are 5000 arrows drawn on 5000 trembling bows.
And then … without warning … they take off …
[Loud lift-off audio]
Although it lasts only seconds, geese launching is one of the great events in birdwatching. The pulse of ten thousand wings rumbles through your bones … and stays a while.
See photos of the launch at BirdNote.org.
I’m Michael Stein.
                                                                               ###


Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. 216755 recorded by Bob McGuire.
BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Sallie Bodie
© 2016 Tune In to Nature.org   December 2016   Narrator: Michael Stein

ID#                 bosque-02-2016-12-23    bosque-02

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