The Conference of Birds

Some fifty thousand northern geese of various species are frequenting the lake that’s down the bottom of our street.

At sunrise, they rise together and fly to nearby fishponds to feed. At sunset, they return. The noise they make is astonishing. There is, in particular, a rather short, ripping, metal-sheet-tearing kind of sound when the main body of the flock take off from the water all at the same time – totally unlike anything I have heard before. A gigantic sticking-plaster being ripped off a gigantic wound.



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