20 June 2007
2007 Goose Roundup
We're halfway through this year's Goose roundup...
We're finished with the job up North, and will spend a couple days down further South in the State to count and band birds there. Don't ask me to explain why we do the Northern birds first... it makes no sense at all, because the Southern birds are more mature and more of them are through molting, and can therefore once again fly. Many of them say "screw this... I'm not putting up with being pushed by a helicopter", and simply take wing.
I hope to find time and inclination together to go more into detail about why this job is so fulfilling. I hope the inspiration will strike me sometime in about a week. But right now I'm recovering from 13 hours of very critical flying in two days time, and I just want to post a blurb and a couple photos for ya...
The above photo was a little risky to take. (It should enlarge if you click it.) Those trees were closer than they appear in the picture, and I had to let go of the collective while hovering about four feet above the water and take the picture with my left hand only. I'm surprised it turned out as clear as it did. You can see I am pushing about 25 birds up that finger of water. At the end of the line there are 15 or so State Biologists waiting to determine the birds' sex, then band the birds that have no bands. Those with bands will have their numbers recorded to check the files and determine where the bands were applied, and the age and sex of the bird.
One of the most wonderful things about this job, and why I love flying helicopters, is that I meet some pretty interesting folks along the way. Monday night several of us got invited to eat at a cookout. When we got to the proper address, this is what we saw:
Our host was an Elk farmer. He owned three of these gorgeous Bulls and 50 or so Cows and Calves. He was an interesting fellow with interesting stories to tell.
I'm goin' to bed, hopefully to sleep for 12 hours or more.
I'll have more on this years' roundup later.