On Musselshell Pond
The morning was overcast, but with snow forecast for later in the day, I figured that early morning may be my best opportunity to photograph eagles today. So I left for church a few minutes early, planning to shoot the “regular” Bald Eagles that are often warming themselves in the early morning sunshine. Despite the lack of sun, a juvenile eagle was perched in a dead tree adjacent to the pond near Musselshell.
As I started capturing a few images, he (or she) turned his attention to a tremendous commotion among the Canada Geese on the far side of the pond. Though I was watching the eagle, I heard a lot of honking and cackling, as well as splashing happening. Following the eagle’s lead, I turned my camera to the geese to find them sparring over pieces of real estate on the islands in the pond. Arguments and battles would ensue like lightning among groups of geese that were only a moment earlier calm and foraging. Most of the battles didn’t last very long, and the spontaneity and short duration of these episodes made them difficult to capture. However, I did manage to capture (albeit poor quality) a very interesting battle posture of one goose trying to encroach on the tip of an island. It would seem that the Canada Goose is educated in the martial arts.
Although these birds join large flocks to make their long migration, they try to establish semi-private nesting areas once they reach the northern destination. Despite all the bickering and fighting, they will often nest in view of one another, and may even become become semi-colonial.