Trying to hold on to your coat

Column and photo by Ed Rood
A Canada goose protects its eggs from a late snowstorm in central Iowa.

So what does a Canada goose have in common with Nike? Believe it or not, they are must-have brands in the fashion world right now. I’m sure you are well aware of Nike sneakers, but have you even heard of Canada goose coats?

Seems thieves are running around Chicago stealing the coats right off peoples’ backs. With windchills reaching way below zero, that’s not a good thing … especially when the jackets can cost more than heating a home all winter.

That’s right. Canada Goose jackets are the hot and pricy thing in the Windy City – especially for those who tend to live on the darker side of life. Hard to imagine what a “hot” Canada goose coat brings on the black market, but it would be enough to make wearing one hazardous to your health.

I do not, nor do I plan to own, a Canada goose jacket (or an expensive pair of Nikes). I can only guess that one of the main attractions for the popularity of the coat (aside from its distinctive patch) is that it is filled with goose down. That’s a good thing as I can testify to from observing geese for years in my photography.

Back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Canada geese were not easy to find in central Iowa. I remember several trips to Silver Lake, Rochester, Minn., to photograph the big birds. This may sound wacky today, but back then it was your best chance to see the giant Canada geese in the wild.

As geese became more of a common sight in Iowa, I would spend hours observing them from blinds, boats and the like. I soon realized how tough these birds actually are. Although most Canadas do migrate south, it isn’t the cold that dispatches them – it’s not having open water to roost on. Today, corporate ponds and dams allow many to remain all winter.

Although the migrating geese are usually the last waterfowl to fly south each winter, they are usually among the first to work their way back north. As soon as the ice goes out on area farm ponds, you can expect a pair of Canadas to move in and start fixing up a home.

Once their nest is established, they’ll stick with it no matter what weather Mother Nature throws at them. That’s when they really put their feathers and down to work.

Yes, the price of a Canada goose coat may be exorbitant, but it couldn’t have a better name to assure the wearer that he or she is going to keep warm.

Ed Rood is former publisher of the Tri-County Times.