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SCV Outdoor Report: Wings

By Wendy Langhans

Canadian geese are fiercely protective of their young.

I saw them as I pulled into the driveway of our complex:  a pair of Canadian Geese standing guard over a half dozen goslings.  So I ran upstairs and grabbed my camera, pausing only for a moment to make sure the telephoto lens was in place.  Geese have a reputation for being fiercely protective on their youngsters, so I didn’t want to get too close.


I watched through the camera lens as the goslings fed on bits of vegetation.  Their movements were awkward; they reminded me of our daughter when she was a toddler, just learning to walk.   I remember her venturing forth on short stubby legs, curiously exploring her world.  Then abruptly she stopped, turned and looked for me, tottering back until she was close enough to feel safe.  Then she turned away and began her dance of exploration all over again.   It was a dance for both of us – a dance of discovery and danger and delight.


When one of the adults walked a few feet away in search of food, I wasn’t surprised to see it trigger a flurry of gosling movement.   But I was surprised to see the goslings spread out their stubby wings as they ran.  It takes about ten weeks before goslings learn to fly.  And right now they were nothing more than a ball of downy fluff with legs, certainly too young to have flight feathers.  So why did they extend their stubs?


This gosling spread its stubby wings as it ran across the grass.

Perhaps it was simply reflex.  Maybe it made them more stable as they ran.  Or perhaps it was practice for the day when they would stretch out their wings and take their own place in the sky.


When I was a new mother, an older, wiser mother told me that the most important thing we can give our children are roots and wings.  I think that may be true for all sorts of mothers.  Happy Mother’s Day.


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.


A parent goose keeps watch while the goslings feed.

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 AM 1220 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: Wings

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