CANADA GEESE by Jack Denton Scott


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In an elegant contrast to Fegely (above), Scott stays close to one flock of (Todd's) Canada geese and uses intimate glimpses of their lives as a take-off point for more expansive questions-among them, how migratory birds find their way (part of the answer, uncovered by watching birds inside a planetarium, seems to be a genetic ""star map""). We also find out how scientists have categorized the different goose cries; see the step-by-step progress of a mating ritual (though not mating itself); and learn how geese defend their nest (Audubon nearly had his arm broken by an angry nester) and present themselves to their goslings for imprinting. All this occurs in a poetic setting--there are shots of geese circling at sunset, and references to the ""piercing and mournful"" calls of a gander who has lost his mate to hunters (though, of course, ""no one can tell what that. . . goose feels or if he has the capacity for sorrow""); and the beauty is never a distraction or a substitute for accuracy, but a canvas on which the facts and emotional response meld.

Pub Date: June 18th, 1976
Page count: 64pp
Publisher: Putnam