Canada Geese
The Midair Collision
December 2008

Before writing this, I tried several general searches to see what I could find about bird-to-bird collisions while flying. The answer is nothing pertaining to birds themselves, but a whole lot about birds and vehicles or windows. But when one thinks about it, why wouldn't there be accidents by which a bird flew into another bird?

Of course, I cannot be 100 percent certain that the following sequence portrays a collision and the aftermath between Canada geese; but the action and reaction certainly suggests a collision to me. Now, the photos themselves are not particularly good as far as aesthetic photography goes, but I believe that they're worthwhile in terms of what they show.

For the first photo, note the two geese in the center. There is a definite overlap (which may be due to the foreshortening effect of long telephoto lenses), but the collision may have occurred earlier. Of those two, the goose on the left doesn't appear to be flying straight and level.

Canada geese - the collision

Whatever the first photo shows, the second photo without a doubt has the consequences of a traumatic effect. The entire skein of six Canada geese is in turmoil: The geese are scattered across the sky.

Note in particular the uppermost goose: It is flying upside-down!

Canada geese - consequences
  Next, the geese work to regain their formation, although the center goose is not quite "right" yet.
Canada geese - reorganizing

The Canada geese are reforming into a proper V.
Canada geese - graceful exit

And then the geese proceeded on their way. Whatever caused the mischief (such as a collision) has been sorted out, and the next several photos (not shown) have them flying together in a standard V.

[Note: I once called them Canadian geese, but Canada geese is the correct name.]

Photo note: I used a Pentax *ist D, with the SMC 1000mm reflex lens for these photos, which were taken on December 11, 2006, all within one minute.

My Pennsylvania bird list

A gosling learns to walk   |   75 days with a Canada goose family   |   Incident on ice

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