THE GEESE ARE BACK by Grete Mannheim


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What starts as a rather rambling examination of life on and around a northern lake in spring--geese join the year-round swans and ducks, turtles stretch their necks, a snake slithers out of her thorny bed--suddenly coalesces into a crisis when the photographer has the good fortune to be present at a ferocious fight between a swan and a gander. With the help of his mate-- after she has hidden their goslings--the gander drives off the swan, but just why the swan attacked (did he intend to kill the goslings, and if so, why?) is never made clear. Neither are a few earlier happenings: an impatient swan father leaves his eggs uncamouflaged, his mate returns to find the nest flattened, the eggs cold, resumes brooding and building (a fine shot of her stretching out for leaves and branches)--but we don't learn who damaged the nest or whether the eggs were also damaged, whether they will in fact hatch. Since both swans and geese leave their eggs unwarmed for various periods (which is noted as being salutary for the growing baby goslings), the confusion is further compounded. Although many of the photos are very fine (there are none, however, of actual hatching), only the critical confrontation between swan and geese has any particular impact.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1969
Publisher: Parents' Magazine Press