The Lake Project: Canadian Geese

I woke up this morning at 6:30 and walked down to the lake before the ground had been warmed by the sun. Since it was grey and damp outside with no sunshine, I was freezing. I mean, I thought I could handle going down with just my hat and jacket and boy, was I wrong. Holding a metal camera lens for long periods of time without gloves on in below freezing weather is seriously painful. But it was worth it, because when I went down I saw the largest collection of Canadian geese on the lake I’ve ever seen.

As most of us at Westtown live on campus or nearby, we see these birds frequently. Most students can probably identify them as being Canadian geese, but other than that, nobody on campus knows much about them, myself included.

So, after seeing a flock of what I estimated to be around 500 birds on the water, I thought it would be interesting to really dive into some resources online and read more about these birds.

Right away, I learned something new. While I already knew that a flock of geese can be called a “gaggle,” what I didn’t know was that the term “gaggle” only refers to geese on the ground. When in the air, they are called a “skein” of geese. I think whoever came up with those names went a little overboard, but each of them is so fun to say that I can live with it!



While this isn’t a particularly good shot, it does show a bit of the scale of all the geese on the lake. There are many more off to each side as well. 


I have always heard that Canadian geese migrate, and have frequently seen them overhead, but something I discovered that was fascinating was that Canadian geese actually have a small band of territory (stretching across the north of the United States) where they live year-round. This includes Pennsylvania, which makes sense because I do see these geese all year long.

Another amazing thing is how the geese figured out that flying in a “V” formation actually reduces drag and allows them to conserve energy. They then take turns being the lead goose, which requires the most energy, so that they all can fly an equal distance without getting tired.

If you are interested in reading anything else about these birds, check out the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s website as it has lots of interesting facts!

While cool to learn and talk about, these geese are very difficult to get in a cool photo. Whenever I get anywhere near them, they swim or walk away, and they rarely take flight in front of the camera. This makes for a lot of boring, run-of-the-mill, shots of them sitting in water or standing on land. That being said, I hope you enjoyed my photos!

Thanks for reading and I will see you again next week!


5 thoughts on “The Lake Project: Canadian Geese

  1. rickyyu1999

    Great pictures. Are your trips down to the lake in the mornings a regular thing? Or is it an occasional ‘I feel like taking photos today in the morning’ kinda thing?

  2. kcmill12

    You are definitely dedicated to this project. That’s pretty awesome. I would never be able to get up at 6:30 am to study in the cold. Great to see some passion behind your project.

  3. yihengxie

    How do you feel we obtain clearance from the regulatory authorities and hunt them for dinner one night? I am sure they will make a proper roast….

    I can smell the rich aroma already…… Yum!

  4. kevinwang11

    Hi Dex,

    The cover picture look amazing! I can see that you learned a lot about Canadian Geese while doing wildlife photography. Frankly, I didn’t know that geese can be called “gaggle” or “skein.”


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