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Home » Santa Clarita News » Environment » SCV Outdoor Report » SCV Outdoor Report: Bar Fight

SCV Outdoor Report: Bar Fight

By Wendy Langhans

Two Canadian Geese are involved in a territorial dispute while two others cheer them on.

One of the downsides of reaching “a certain age” is that I don’t sleep as well as I used to.  So when I awoke at o’dark hundred on Monday morning, rather than toss and turn in a futile attempt to catch a few more zzzz’s, I decided to go for a walk.  I grabbed my camera, remembering there was a Yucca in flower that would make a good photo in the first light of dawn.  It was a good thing I did.


The paseo bordering the Santa Clara River was peaceful, as befits a place gently poised between darkness and light.  Until the quiet was shattered by a riotous chorus of honking and the forceful slapping sounds of splashing water.  What was that?  I quickly walked over to the edge of the Bridgeport Lake, hastily removing the lens cap from my camera as I walked.


There they were – two male Canadian geese locked in neck-to-neck combat – bleating incessantly while beating the water and each other with their powerful wings.  Nearby, two females with horizontally outstretched necks were loudly honking as part of the cheering section.


What a ruckus!


Then it ended, as quickly as it had begun.  The losing couple flew off to another part of the lake, to the accompaniment of a few last anemic honks.


A friend later asked me, tongue-in-cheek, if “love was in the air”?  Was this a fight over a female?  Nope.  It was a fight over territory.  These Canadian Geese feed on submerged aquatic plants, insects, crustaceans and small fish.  During the spring, when they are rearing their young, a nearby and plentiful supply of food is especially important.  Wildlife biologists would describe what I saw as “agonistic behavior”, which is defined as social interaction between members of the same species for reasons of territoriality, social hierarchy or dominance and involving aggression and/or retreat.  


A closer look at the combatants.

In other words, it was a bar fight. And it was a dirty one too.  As I looked at my photos later that morning, one picture showed a goose taking a bite out of his opponent.


Upcoming Outdoor Events:  


Saturday, May 10, 8:30-10:30 am. Towsley Canyon.  Living Flowers for Mother’s Day.  Treat your mother and yourself to the sight of a living bouquet of wildflowers on this easy hike.  Meet at the front parking lot.
For directions and a trail map, click here .
Sponsored by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority.


Saturday, May 17, 8:00-10:00 am.  Towsley Canyon.  Early Morning Bird Hike
It’s that magical time of year and birds are part of the magic. Join us on an easy hike to see which birds make Towsley Canyon home and those fabulous travelers that are flying through town. Beginners are welcome. Bring your binoculars and meet at the entrance to the park.


For directions and a trail map, click here.

Sponsored by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority.


I assume these geese never heard of the “no biting” rule.

Saturday, May 10 and 24, and every Wednesday, 8:00 am.  Trail Maintenance Volunteers at Towsley Canyon.
Come join our trail maintenance volunteers for camaraderie and a heart-thumping workout.  For more information call Steve Ioerger at 661-291-1565 or  Sponsored by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority.

 You can listen to stories like this every Friday morning at 7:10 a.m. on "The Hike Report", brought to you by your hometown radio station KHTS (AM1220) and by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority.


For the complete MRCA hike and activity schedule and for trail maps, go to

SCV Outdoor Report: Bar Fight

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