October 18, 2018
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A video worthy of a Hitchcock movie: Migrating geese swarm onto an Aroostook County pond

Jim Thorne of Carmel spends plenty of time on the roads of Maine, and often posts Facebook photos from spots he loves in Aroostook County.

But Thorne outdid himself Tuesday, when he posted a short video showing a massive migration of Canada geese as hundreds — perhaps thousands — of birds converged on a pond in the northern Maine town of Limestone.

Thorne said he’d never seen a migration of geese like that — “Only in my dreams,” he wrote — but said it wasn’t the only wave of geese that arrived that day.

“[It was] unusual to have such a concentration of geese, like that, here in Maine,” Thorne wrote. “There was another wave that came in AFTER that one that was almost as impressive.”

The arrival of the birds was likely appreciated by Aroostook County goose hunters, as the regular season on Canada geese opened Oct. 1 and runs through Dec. 8.

The BDN shared the video with wildlife biologist Brad Allen, who serves as the bird group leader for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, who said he could sum up the scene with one word: “Spectacular.”

Allen said he’d be more apt to see such a migration on TV than here in Maine.

“For this neck of the woods I would say this is a not so common event,” Allen said. “[It] looks more [like] the migrations of the mid-continent prairies on the hunting shows I watch on the Outdoor Channel.”

Allen said the geese were likely responding to atmospheric conditions that made migration favorable.

“My opinion would that conditions were perfect for a large-scale migration event,” Allen said. “When the birds are ready to go they begin their southward migration from Quebec and Labrador when the weather patterns are favorable and this looks like the case, and they are migrating en masse. They may have been flying for an extended period and decided that pond was a good place to rest.”

Bob Duchesne, who writes the BDN’s Good birding column and is vice president of Maine Audubon’s Penobscot Valley Chapter, said some similar events can be expected in northern Maine each year.

“This same thing happens at Collins Pond in Caribou, and the ponds in Mars Hill and Washburn. It’s the place to look for rare geese this time of year,” Duchesne said in an email. “I usually go up at least once in the fall just to take in the show. The geese seem to know they are safe from hunters in town. Collins Pond is right downtown. There is a walking path adjacent. The geese don’t even flinch [when] strollers walk by.”

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