Do grazing geese sound like bubbles?

If you’ve ever ran a bubble bath and sunken beneath its steaming surface, listening to the soft pops of air as they break free from the soapy membranes, then you know the sound I mean.

I was back on the Songhees Walkway making my way into town, the warming sun putting the brisk morning air to bed, when a gaggle of Canadian geese grazing on the path’s grassy banks up ahead stole my attention.

Grazing geese sound like bubbles

Grazing geese sound like bubbles

I didn’t stop as I approached the geese, but slowed to admire the off-white and dusty-brown feathers streaking their breasts like the furrows of a chocolate Vienetta. Growing closer, I could hear the sound of the birds pulling at the grassy shoots with their bills. Though I hadn’t paid much attention to the tune of a grazing goose before, the noise was remarkably familiar. And it was then that I realised, grazing geese sound like popping bubbles.

Content with my mild revelation, I continued on my way.

Snowbirds on the Songhees Walkway

Hugging the northern shoreline of Victoria Harbour is the Songhees Walkway, also know as the West Song. Not only is it a peaceful alternative to the grunt of Esquimalt Road, a more direct route leading from our apartment to downtown, but a great place to encounter some of the nicest people in Victoria.

Unlike Paris, London or Hong Kong, where it is now illegal to make eye contact on the street (perhaps take this with a pinch of salt), the Songhees Walkway appears to be the polar opposite; if a passerby fails to acknowledge you, you are perfectly within your rights to perform a citizen’s arrest (again, don’t forget the salt).

Yesterday, I found myself talking to a kind-eyed man with a russet, sun-faded fedora hat covering his head of greys. We had both stopped to admire a raft of small ducks gathering in the shallows close to the harbour wall. “Hooded mergansers,” the man informed me.

“Oh. They’re funny little things,” I responded, watching a particular individual as it skimmed the

Snowbird identification chart

Snowbird identification chart

water’s surface with its bill. Light brown on its underbelly and black and white on its back, I was unable to escape the observation that half of the bird’s body was dedicated to its head. “Big heads, aren’t they?”

“They’re migratory,” the man said, happily ignoring my remarks. “A bit like my wife and I; we winter here, away from of the Calgary snowfall. We’re following them I guess.”

“Ah, snow birds?”

“No, they’re mergansers, hooded mergansers!”