Tuesday, July 10, 2007
"The Geese of Beaver Bog" by Bernd Heinrich
The Geese of Beaver Bog
by Bernd Heinrich
HarperCollins, New York, NY 2004
Looking for a summer read that has intertwining romances, intrigue and an uplifting ending? Then get your hands on Bernd Heinrich’s “The Geese of Beaver Bog.”
Heinrich is one of my favorite authors. He combines the scientific insight of a biology professor, the lyric wordsmithing of a poet and the curiosity of child with the artful unraveling of complex concepts that is the gift of a true teacher.
In addition, Heinrich’s books stand out for me because of his passion for fieldwork. He wades through the muck to get close to the nesting geese. He clutches a cup of hot coffee while observing on a frosty morning. He is the one who is struck by a defensive gander while patiently trying to establish a relationship with several pairs of wild Canada geese.
Less scientific than previous works, like Winter World, The Geese of Beaver Bog is Heinrich’s very personal saga of a Canada goose named “Peep.” This female Canada goose was raised by Heinrich and his family and then returned to the wild.
Could a gosling imprinted on humans lead a normal life in the wild? Would it remember its human family years later? Heinrich chronicles his life with Peep and in the process reveals some myths about Canada geese. Do they mate for life? Do they build their nests in communal groups? Do male geese dominate their female partners?
You will count the days along with Heinrich waiting for the eggs to hatch and hurry through the pages to find the geese when they disappear. You’ll hang on the successes and failures, and try to listen in as the parents communicate with the hatchlings still inside their eggs.
If you are interested in the natural world and understanding creatures different from yourself, spend some quality reading time with Bernd Heinrich and discover the complex and fascinating world of Beaver Bog. You’ll never look at a Canada goose the same way again.