Advanced search

Something To Talk About - Bird Migration

How Do They Accomplish It?


Last month I was standing on the second-floor balcony of our stay along the SC coast when they came flying over the roof. So close, I could hear the rush of the wind created by the synchronized movement of their wings. Canada geese on their migratory route south. Not fifty feet above, the feathered fowl glided downward to the pond below, braking their fall with outstretched wings. Water splashing and forming the v-shaped rippled pattern as each bird came to rest. 

The wonder of bird migration. How do they accomplish it? Hundreds, if not thousands of miles traveled, navigating direction, finding food and rest in a world altered by human occupation. I am certain that science, over many years, has determined answers to these and many other related questions. Answers that might include, biological DNA or animal instinct. To witness these birds in such close proximity is to witness God’s amazing creation. I choose to simply credit Him for the wonder of nature. The particulars are left for the scientist to study.  

As I watched the gaggle of geese moving on the water’s surface, a single bird began to call out in a very distinct “honk.” A few silent moments passed, then from somewhere in the evening sky came an answering “honk.” As I watched and waited, another wedge of geese flew in sight and landed on the water. This process was repeated several times until four or five groups had arrived, totaling about one hundred birds. Can you imagine the honking going on among them? 

“In coming, move out of the way.” 

“It’s about time you showed up.”

“Well, you know with the young ones, we had to stop several times.”  

Assigning human conversation to birds when honking can be humorous. I really have no idea what the geese are discussing. But they are communicating. The female’s sound is a fast high pitch “hink” and the male is a slow low pitch “honk.” This I have observed. Kind of reminds me of a husband and wife. Listening as I did, gave rise to the thought, how we as people communicate with each other.

First, it is impossible for humans to “not communicate.” Communication is simply the method and message. Examples; behavior, body posture, verbal, and the dreaded, “silent treatment.” Second, these methods have one common factor; language. Language is essential for developing the thought process, not instinct or DNA. Without language there is no thought, simply reaction. We think in language. 

I don’t know if geese have a language, but they do communicate. They do have behavior mannerisms. Just to observe them interact with each other in a natural setting demonstrates this. By early morning the geese had left to continue their journey. Late in the day another group would arrive.  

God gave geese the capability to migrate. He created in them the ability to make the long journey. He provides food for them to eat. How much more does He bless and provide for you and I.    

Walter Allen has a BA degree from Auburn University and is retired from the paper industry. He is a published author and lives in Laurens County.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here