The buzz

Why is this Canada goose at Lake Renwick flying upside down?

Canada goose flying upside down
(Photo by Glenn P. Knoblock)

Canada geese flying overhead across Will County isn't anything unusual.

How about a Canada goose flying upside down? Well, that's not your common, everyday occurrence, but it did play out at Lake Renwick Preserve in Plainfield.

At a quick glance, it appears nothing is out of the ordinary with the goose in the middle of the trio. A closer look shows it is indeed flying with its body upside down, while its head remains upright.

But why? 

What you're seeing here is a bird whiffling, which is a zig-zagging maneuver that helps it rapidly descend. Every now and then when birds whiffle, they'll rotate their bodies 180 degrees and fly upside down. What's particularly noteworthy about this is that they'll keep their head twisted so that it retains its normal position. 

This photo is a perfect example of how being in the right place at the right time can yield some incredibly interesting wildlife shots. 

The acrobatic goose only maintained that position for a few seconds, and immediately before landing on the water, flipped its body back around for the splash down.

 

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