This is one.
I devoted a page of Birdwatching in New Hampshire to GJN, a Canada Goose that was banded in Issungua, Western Greenland, in July 2008. GJN is the field-readable code on a large yellow band that is affixed around the birds neck. It was an easy choice to include this story in the book. I had resighted this goose in Walpole, NH in March 2011 while it was en route back to Greenland for its third nesting season, a 3,500 mile trip one-way. This is why I watch birds — not because they are pretty, though that helps, but because they are fascinating. Each one has a story to tell, if you can just figure out how to unravel it.
A group of British ornithologists has been banding Canada Geese in Western Greenland with field-readable neck collars since 2008, and I have been diligently searching for them every fall, winter, and especially spring, when they can theoretically be seen in New Hampshire. I have only been successful once, on March 22, 2011, when I spotted GJN in a field off River Road in Walpole – that is until last Sunday, when we (Len Medlock and I) happened upon a flock of 1,500 Canada Geese in Westmoreland, 3 miles from the aforementioned Walpole field.
Len announced that he had a bird with a collar inscribed with the letters GJN, but as I had just given him a copy of the book to thank him for the use of some of his stunning photographs, I assumed he was having a laugh at my expense. I was wrong. I relayed the news to David Stroud, the lead ornithologist of the project, who was thrilled. This was the first sighting of the goose since 2011, and it offers some insight into the migratory habits of geese and their propensity to remain faithful to particular rest stops.
It was a good day.