Flatlander Faith

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

Tag Archives: migration

An abundance of geese

Greater Snow Geese (Anser caerulescens atlanticus), blue morphs in foreground, Alexandria, Ontario, D. Gordon E. Robertson, 2 April 2010

I asked my wife this morning if we should take today to go to the city for the things we needed, or if another day would be better. Then we got a message that the electricity would be turned off in our area from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. That was our answer. School was cancelled for the day too. When we got home in the afternoon we heard the electricity never had been shut off.

On our way to the city we saw huge flocks of geese overhead. Occasionally there would be a field beside the highway that was covered with birds, thousands of them, the majority white but many a darker colour. Snow geese: we are located on their flyway and this is the time of the year they drop in to glean in the harvested fields. Snow geese are abundant, definitely not an endangered species. It is estimated that the breeding population is increasing by 5% each year.

At one time it was believed that the dark coloured geese that flock together with snow geese were a different species. Further observation has shown that they always flock together and that they interbreed. Nowadays they are all called snow geese, with two morphs of plumage colour: white and grey-blue. Not everybody has caught on to that yet, many casual observers still think they are two different species.

Sadly, many people have also not caught on to the fact that there is only one race of humanity, homo sapiens, with a great variety in colour and size. The Bible says we are all of one origin; the apostle Paul reiterated that on Mars Hill, saying all people are of one blood.

Evolutionary biologists used to dispute that, saying that there were different races of humanity. Genetic science has caught up with them, confirming Paul’s statement. Can we all just accept that?

Nature notes

Several times, when I have been out for a walk after dark, I have seen fireflies in the ditches close to our home. There were fireflies near my boyhood home here in Saskatchewan, I saw lots of them when we lived in Ontario, but these are the first I have seen since coming back to Saskatchewan 20 years ago.

The orioles seem to have left us. I put an orange half up on a pole a week ago and it was completely cleaned out. I put up a fresh one on Thursday and it has not been touched.

Most of the hummingbirds seem to have moved on, also. There are still two that come to our feeder numerous times during the day.

We thought we saw hummingbirds among our flower pots after dark several nights ago. A closer look revealed that they were not birds at all, but moths. They are fittingly called hummingbird moths and this is what one looks like. No wonder we were confused. (You don’t see the antennae in semi-darkness.)



The barn swallows who built a nest in the rafters of our garage have just hatched their second batch of the summer. Hope it stays warm long enough for the little ones to become airborne in time for the trip south.

Family gatherings

[Before I begin, I want to ask a question.  Have any of you found advertisements on this blog that you felt were inappropriate?  WordPress offers free hosting for blogs, but sometimes they will place ads on the blogs to help cover their operating costs.  I never see the ads, so I don’t know what might be appearing to others.  I could pay $33.00 a year to keep my blog completely ad free.  Alternatively, I could sign up for lots of ads and receive a cut of the advertising revenue.  I don’t want to do that.  I really don’t want to pay the $33.00 per year either, but if anyone is finding ads on this blog that are off putting, please let me know.]

i went for a walk down the road this afternoon.  I could see from quite a distance that there were a couple of calves dining on the roadside grass and all the extended family was gathered in the corner of the pasture, inside the fence, watching.  As I got closer, they all started telling the young ones to get back in where they belonged and where they would be safe from wandering humans.  Finally the two young steers walked around the corner of the fence to where the wire was lower and jumped over the top back into the pasture.  They were Charolais, a breed noted for their athletic ability.

About half a mile in the other direction from our house there is a pond that is used as a camping place for migrating Canada Geese.  There can be 500 to 1,000 of them there at any one time and the noise of their visiting gets quite loud at times.  Skeins of geese fly over top and greetings are shouted between the flyers and the campers.  At times, the whole clan will rise up off the pond and gather for a picnic in the stubble fields.  There are also Sandhill Cranes foraging in the stubble field just south of us and from time to time we will drive by a field that is turned white by huge flocks of Snow Geese.  Geese are social and gregarious birds, they love to get together and what? talk over their experiences of the summer? plan the route to their wintering grounds?  Whatever it is they are talking about, they do a lot of it and it all sounds like friendly chatter.

Chris and I are planning to attend a human family gathering on Saturday.  A bunch of family and friends will be getting together to help my cousin Lyle and his wife Fyrne celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary.  We will have to travel more than three hours to get there, but this is the area where I lived until I was nine years old, so it will feel like I am going home.  We cousins don’t get together that often, but when we do, the noise of our visiting might not sound a whole lot different than a gathering of geese.

I was thinking today that gatherings such as these will become quite rare in coming generations.  Marriages break up, a lot of people never bother getting married, children aren’t sure where they fit in and extended families do not seem to hold together anymore.  Any couple that has been married 40, 50 or 60 years has experienced a lot of bumps in the road — misunderstandings, hurt feelings, unkind words, anger.  But little by little they have learned to understand one another a little better and to forgive one another.

After many years, when the children and grandchildren gather round, we see that it was worth it all to stick it out and repair the breaches in our relationship.  Eventually we come to realize that this person who has borne with us all these years, and suffered many wounds from our selfishness and carelessness, is a pretty special person.   Those who are ready to call it quits at the first bump in the road will never know that feeling.  And their children will never know the security and stability of a home where parents know that home and family are more important than feelings that soon pass.

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