Who in the midwest has never seen and heard a Canada Goose? In any city park or grassy area, with their necks stretched tall and their chests puffed out, they strut about as if they own the place. Invade their space--especially if there are chicks around--and they'll spread their wings, open their beaks wide, and hiss like an old Hyde Park brownstone radiator--just daring you to come any closer. I give them a wide berth.

DSC_0623.jpg

In the fall, as leaves begin to turn color, the Canada Geese begin banding together and flying south. Their V-shaped flocks passing overhead, with their clamorous honking, are as much part of our midwest autumn landscape as pumpkins and haystacks.

But it's in the dog days of summer that the Canada Geese conduct what is probably the least known event of their annual cycle: Goose Olympics. Hidden in plain sight. See for yourself. In these photos you will see the Triple Jump, the 100m Dash, and the Mixed 800m!

And those numbered neck bands you often see on the necks of some geese here in Chicago? What in the world did you think they were for? Now you know.

Dan's Feathursday Feature is a weekly contribution to the COS blog featuring the thoughts, insights and pictures of Chicago birder, Dan Lory on birds of the Chicago region.