a family of Canadas
split off from
the migrating flock
and set down on our swath of rye and clover
poking through a dusting of snow. Six birds
the parental pair, ever alert, necks
craning as far as they could stretch and
their four fast-growing chicks embarked
on their first long flight.
My guess is they were giving the
near-yearlings a breather to rest and eat,
that they knew the spot, here this Summer past
with a group of adult Canadas and
a gaggle of newborn fluffballs.
This visit saw them edge onshore with a
practiced precision, youngsters flanked
on either side by a wary parent, watchful
And I shared their concern – a pair of
red foxes had taken to patrolling our lakeshore
in the late afternoons and a pair of coyotes
had been yowling nearby the evening before.
Luck or proper planning, the Canadas had chosen a
propitious time – no predators; a would-be
photographer knowing his place; and key, a
large slick of open water in our small bay,
perfect flyway for the family to depart on
Which they did within the hour, making their way
gingerly to the beach, slowly slipping into the water
and then off, wingtips seeming to touch. Shimmer,
the cat, and I saw them off, bidding them a safe
voyage, trusting we’d see them again in the new year,
harbingers, they and our robins, of Spring, green fields
and new life.
Photo at top provided by Jack Carney.