Geese of Beaver Bog

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When award-winning writer and biologist Bernd Heinrich became the unwitting — but doting — foster parent of an adorable gosling named Peep, he was drawn into her world. And so, with a scientist's training and a nature lover's boundless enthusiasm, he set out to understand the travails and triumphs of the Canada geese living in the beaver bog adjacent to his home. In The Geese of Beaver Bog, Heinrich takes his readers through mud, icy waters, and overgrown sedge hummocks to unravel the mysteries behind heated ...

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2005 Paperback New In 1998, Heinrich found himself the foster parent of a gosling named Peep, so he set out to observe and understand the Canada geese living in the beaver bog ... adjacent to his Vermont home. Illustrated by the author. Read more Show Less

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The Geese of Beaver Bog

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Overview

When award-winning writer and biologist Bernd Heinrich became the unwitting — but doting — foster parent of an adorable gosling named Peep, he was drawn into her world. And so, with a scientist's training and a nature lover's boundless enthusiasm, he set out to understand the travails and triumphs of the Canada geese living in the beaver bog adjacent to his home. In The Geese of Beaver Bog, Heinrich takes his readers through mud, icy waters, and overgrown sedge hummocks to unravel the mysteries behind heated battles, suspicious nest raids, jealous outbursts, and more. With deft insight and infectious good humor, he sheds light on how geese live and why they behave as they do. Far from staid or predictable, the lives of geese are packed with adventure and full of surprises. Illustrated throughout with Heinrich's trademark sketches and featuring beautiful four-color photographs, The Geese of Beaver Bog is part love story, part science experiment, and wholly delightful.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Arguably today's finest naturalist author, Heinrich follows up his magnificent Winter World (2003) with a smaller-scale but delightful narrative of his recent observations on the Canadian geese that have colonized the beaver bog near his Vermont home. The story begins and ends with Peep, a goose who hatched from an egg on Heinrich's lawn and adopted Heinrich's family as her own. In time Peep mates with a gander, Pop, only to see all her eggs but one destroyed by an unknown predator Heinrich suspects other geese and then her sole gosling die, as she and Pop share the bog with another goose couple whom Heinrich calls Jane and Jack. The next year, Pop has coupled with Jane, while Peep, after some struggle, takes up with Jack, contradicting the common wisdom that geese pair off for years, just one of many anomalous behaviors that Heinrich observes and tries to make sense of. Other geese come and go, as Heinrich rushes from his house to the bog, often before dawn, scrupulously studying this incident or that, always tying in what he sees with scientific knowledge, relying particularly on Konrad Lorenz's groundbreaking work. The story can flag at times (these are geese, after all, not higher primates), but is always re-energized by Heinrich's enthusiasm. Other animals figure in as well other bird species, beavers, mammalian predators and even the author's own family as the seasons turn and the geese grow, in Heinrich's talented hands, into memorable characters. Backed by several useful appendixes and brightened not only by Heinrich's careful drawings but by color photos (not seen by PW), this is another worthy missive from our latter-day Thoreau. (May) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Although he is an accomplished biologist, Heinrich (Univ. of Vermont) has not written a hard science book. Instead, he offers observations of Canadian geese that have nested in a beaver bog on his Maine property for several years, recalling his award-winning Mind of the Raven. Via Peep, a goose born on the author's lawn, we learn about the species' breeding, nesting, and defense of their territory each spring, along with unusual behaviors that Heinrich not only illustrates but ultimately tries to explain. In addition, he describes the behavior of the many other birds, mammals, amphibians, and insects that share the pond. The text is taken largely from a diary that Heinrich kept in the late 1990s, and the dated entries and use of present tense support his style. This story of waterfowl and their young clearly fascinates the energetic Heinrich and would appeal to bird watchers and other amateur naturalists. Recommended for popular collections.-Alvin Hutchinson, Smithsonian Inst. Libs., Washington, DC Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060957384
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/10/2005
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.54 (d)

Meet the Author

The author of numerous bestselling and award-winning books, Bernd Heinrich is a professor of biology at the University of Vermont. He divides his time between Vermont and the forests of western Maine.

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Table of Contents

Introduction xi
1 It's a Goose 1
2 Settling In 19
3 At the Nest 25
4 Nesting Travails 37
5 Spring Again 55
6 Mate Switch 65
7 One Month at a Nest 71
8 Geese Hatching 87
9 To Greener Pastures 101
10 A Summer Night Concert: Sounds and Sights 109
11 Fall Visitors 113
12 Spring Sorting-Out 121
13 Jane and Harry 131
14 Getting Together 141
15 The Sedge Pair 147
16 Adoption, Parenting, and Desertion 159
17 A Feather Dropped 173
About the Appendices 179
Appendix 1 Chronologies at Two Ponds 181
Appendix 2 Lorenz's Geese 183
Appendix 3 Canada Goose Populations 193
Appendix 4 Birds Seen at and around the Beaver Bog 203
Selected References 207
Index 215
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First Chapter

The Geese of Beaver Bog

Chapter One

It's a Goose

The speed limit on the highway a mile from my home in Vermont is 45 miles an hour, and Peep was pushing it. She was winging along a foot or two behind and just to the left of the cab of my Toyota pickup truck. Another truck roared by from the other direction but she kept her place. She didn't miss a wing-beat. You might think she knew all about flying, road vehicles, and the right-of-way convention when barreling down the highway. Fact is, this is was her maiden flight. I was as surprised to find her beside me, as I suspect the truck driver was.

I had originally planned to drive to town, but seeing her now I reconsidered. I slowed, turned around, and headed back toward our dirt road to lead her home. Site was soon again with me. I then cranked up to 50 miles an hour on the last level stretch on the approach to the turnoff to our road, to see what she could do. She started to lag a bit and I knew she was pushing, approaching her limits, because her bill opened and as I glanced sideways I saw her pink tounge exposed while she panted from exertion and overheating.

She didn't turn the corner too well. Tongue still out and chest heaving, she landed in a ditch and waddled out onto the dirt road. I stopped to see if she was all right. After giving her a couple of minutes to catch her breath, I got back into the truck ...

The Geese of Beaver Bog. Copyright © by Bernd Heinrich. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2014

    Entertaining and well written

    I'm a lover of all nature, but have a deep fondness for birds. I currently own a dove and a duck. Reading about a hand- reared wild creature that can thrive in the wild yet retain it's bond to it's human family is quite special. I'm only a third of the way through this lovely book but had to say how much I'm enjoying it.

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