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Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

Snow Geese at Lake Springfield
My parents called on Sunday to tell me there were a lot of geese at the lake, in case I wanted to check it out. It was a dull part of the afternoon, so I loaded up the kids and we headed over there. To say there were a ton of geese is an understatement.

The video probably does not do it justice, but it was just totally amazing watching this huge flock of birds. It's hard to estimate the number, but it has to be in the hundreds of thousands.

My dad has a lot of great photos, but since he's without the internet this week, it's going to be awhile before he can upload them. Anyway, hope you enjoy the video. It might put you to sleep.

I've gotten several questions about this video so far, so here's more information. The song is "E-Bow" by Sigur Ros. It's track 6 on their "()" album. The whole album is really nice - check it out. I had to modify the song quite a bit to make it fit the video, and the full version is really sweet.

I used a Panasonic HVX-200 to shoot this. All equipment was stock - no special lenses or anything. I recorded some scenes in slow-motion, and some of them I sped up so they appear faster than real-time in the video.

The sound of geese towards the beginning of the video was created in post-production. I did record sound during the shoot, but being far away and slightly windy, the quality was undesirable. I used it as a reference when creating the final sound, which was made from several stock recordings of geese that were layered on top of one another hundreds of times. I believe the final sound is very true to what the recording would have sounded like under optimal conditions. All sound effects at the beginning (footsteps, camera beep, kids, etc) were added separately for effect.

The really long shot that pans from left to right is real-time and was not smoothed on the computer. I got lucky and captured a smooth pan the first try. I use Final Cut Pro for editing, although I didn't do anything fancy that couldn't be done in a basic video editing program. The only exception might be some advanced color correction, but its effect overall is not very noticeable.

I have an HD version of this video now available here:

Very nice video! That is a ton of geese! The music was perfect too, very peaceful. I enjoyed myself and didn't fall asleep even once.
Denny Deaton   Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Wow... that's wild. (hahaha) I mean that is a LOT of geese! Very cool.
girlcarew   Wednesday, March 3, 2010
That is a crazy amount of geese.
BTW, really nice video.
SallyPants   Wednesday, March 3, 2010
That opening shot with ice on the rocks would make a great header!
K8Day   Wednesday, March 3, 2010
That is incredible, especially when they take flight. I've never seen such a sight in person. Thank you for filming it and sharing it!

Nicely done.
pegi   Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Wow! Have you seen Winged Migration?
Spike   Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Yeah, I remember watching that awhile back. I don't remember much from it though. Were there birds? Or wings?
Dave Heinzel   Wednesday, March 3, 2010
It's a sign. And one I'm THRILLED about! Awesome video, Dave!!
Angi   Wednesday, March 3, 2010
I didn't get a chance to watch last night--too close to checkout time for me but it certainly made me think of Steve when I saw you had this video. Quite amazing. No secret I love birdwatching but I've never been to a place where they congregate like this. Amazing!! Great music to go with the video. Thanks for getting bored and checking it out for us. Truly amazing!!
LGrant   Wednesday, March 3, 2010
I consider myself to be the luckiest person in the world to have been able to be there with Dave and see this spectacular sight in person. It was truly indescribable....not just the sight but also the sound of thousands and thousands of geese. Dave, you did a wonderful job as always of recording this once-in-a-lifetime experience. I know you all will marvel at Steve's pictures which are coming soon!
!   Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Well, it makes me feel better to know you don't get to experience this ALL the time. I was feeling mighty left out!
pegi   Wednesday, March 3, 2010
I think I got goose poop on my screen. Totally awesome video.

And Reddit worthy: http://www.reddit.com/r/reddit.com/comments/b916p/cool_...
shoo   Wednesday, March 3, 2010
IMAGINE the amount of goose poop in that place! I never thought about that until I started getting around lakes in MN with goose population. And here too--and they always seem to prefer sidewalks to grass though they can do a number on the grass in a park too. You could fertilize a whole farm with that flock!
LGrant   Thursday, March 4, 2010
that was just amazing. I wish I could have been there. Dave, the filming was extraordinary to say the least!!!!
Sandy Davis   Thursday, March 4, 2010
Amazing! Thanks so much for sharing. Wish I could have been there!
Carole   Thursday, March 4, 2010
Dave this is absolutely breathtaking! You r quite talented. We r so lucky to have u not only in our school district but at shs being such a positive role model for aspiring young artists. Thank you so much for what u do.
Carrie miles   Friday, March 5, 2010
Really incredible. Thanks for sharing. I'm also a big fan of Sigur Ros and thought the music choice was excellent. Wish I could've seen it.
AM Brown   Saturday, March 6, 2010
Thanks for sharing, Dave. Incredible video.
George and Jean Hanson   Sunday, March 7, 2010
Tera   Monday, March 8, 2010
most water fowlers I know call these "SKYCARP". They can ruin a winter wheat crop inside of a day. Nasty critters!!!
Bill   Monday, March 8, 2010
I lived in Rochester, IL for many years, and now live in Oregon. Beautiful site, but I must agree they can be destructive too during their migration. Many seed farmers in the Willamette Valley (Oregon) are preparing for their flight over their fields.... there are numerous field look alike eagles in the fields to hopefully detour their landing. Loved the Video and music.
SR   Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Thank you from Colorado Springs.
Springfield, was our home for 50 years, and we lived on or near this Lake much of that time.
Not sure I would want to swim in it after all those geese were in it. (Might have to walk on it.)

Good job, well done.......Thanks for sharing.

Subject: Snow Geese - Lake Springfield, IL

Bob Cook   Wednesday, March 10, 2010
very cool. how can we download it 2 fb?
ralph   Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Ralph, I have the video on my Facebook account. You can probably grab it from there: http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=1405248811491

I added a HD version of the video at this link:
Dave Heinzel   Thursday, March 11, 2010
That was amazing!
Jenny   Friday, March 12, 2010
Great Job!! Thanks.

Bob mcFarland
Schenectady, NY
Bob McFarland   Saturday, March 13, 2010
Last year at Emiquon (the Nature Conservancy's restoration of the backwater lakes of the Illinois River near Havana) we witnessed the same phenomenon about a week earlier. I wonder now that the Illinois River is returning to its historic role in the migration of waterfowl, if you will be seeing more scenes like this at Springfield as the birds make their way north. Such as white pelicans.
It's a great video. Thanks.
Margaret Ovitt   Sunday, March 14, 2010
Terrific. Such abundance always makes me wonder what the flyway looked like in 1830 before the first settler rolled. More geese? A lot more? I think so
Mark Kane   Thursday, March 18, 2010
A friend shared this with me and I'm going to share it again! It's wonderful. Thank you!
Debbie   Thursday, March 18, 2010
You did such a wonderful job of showing the magnitude of the flock, and how it moves, and yet were also able to show the beauty of a single bird as well as the restlessness of the flock. Yet throughout there was a calm, peacefulness even reverence about the whole setting. I felt that I was there is so many ways. Thank you for sharing this.
Barbara   Thursday, March 18, 2010
What a awesome video. I was having a very bad day and sat down at the computer and saw this posted on a friends page started watching it and it was such an uplifting experience and a wonderful production. Thanks Dave It Is Awesome. thanks for sharing your experience.
Cam   Friday, March 19, 2010
Wonderful. I live there and saw it also. I called all my friends as well!
carol   Monday, March 22, 2010
I have had the extreme pleasure to hunt Snow's in Southern Il. and this is just a small portion of what migrates every year to the Arctic Circle around this time. The strings of snow geese bring back great memories of better times spent with my father and great friend. Thank's for a great video.
Steve W.   Thursday, March 25, 2010
The only clearly seen bird on the video was of a gull,why not a snow goose?
Diane   Friday, March 26, 2010
They were a distance from the shore I was on, and the camera was zoomed in all the way in several shots. I wish I had been able to get some closeups, but overall it was more interesting to watch the flock as one fluid body.
Dave Heinzel   Friday, March 26, 2010
this "old dog" just got a windows 7 for xmas 2009 and i am 67 years old. my otherhalf will be 70 soon! we were both blown away. i know VERY LITTLE about this machine and hubby knows NOTHING. we both were at the lake when the birds were there. i didn't have my sony digital. i usually have it as i do my cell(umbilical cord). YOU have just given me a COOL MILLION! Pictures are worth a thousand words and to me mean more than money. The ancestry search is awesome but i have the pictures to go with it from the matriarcks on both sides for my generations to come.. Thanks grandma and grandpa!!!! Thanks Dave for the realality! i am passing it on..Judy, the "OLD DOG".
judy nevill   Saturday, March 27, 2010
I have never seen anything like this video. Thank you for sharing.
La Velle Borders   Saturday, March 27, 2010
Dave.....Great video! I witnessed a "fly-in" of tens of thousands of migrating geese on a lake in Texas once. You never forget the sight and sounds. Truely amazing! I forwarded it on to a number of my friends who have left the Land of Lincoln and are living your dream in the sun. Thanks for sharing.
Steve Patterson   Monday, March 29, 2010
Just an amazing video! We have a "winter home" on Vancouver Island and get to see a number of amazing migrations here that range from "Brandt" to Gray Whales, but I've never seen anything the scale and scope of this. Just an outstanding video. You have a gift.
Larry Smith   Monday, March 29, 2010
Every Air traffic controller's bad dream!

Great work
Paul Lambert   Saturday, April 3, 2010
That is Springfields drinking water!!!!!!!!
mfs3406   Thursday, April 8, 2010
And that folks is why you don't want to eat fish out of Lake Springfield!
Jacob Bennett   Saturday, May 8, 2010
But those fish are good!
Sarah G.   Sunday, May 9, 2010
Yeah, that's our drinking water, and pretty darn good compared to some communities! And hey, the fish are pretty good that come out of there, also. They haven't changed much in the thirty five years I've been eating them from the Lake. A little bird poop or some fish droppings in the water aren't going to hurt much. I wonder what all those hundreds of boaters every weekend use for restroom facilities. Hmmmmmmm!!
stheinz   Sunday, May 9, 2010
I could have lived the rest of my life not knowing that!
Jacob Bennett   Sunday, May 9, 2010
Yeah, some things in life we are better-off not knowing or delving into too deeply! Like food processing - oops, we don't want to open that can of worms!!
stheinz   Sunday, May 9, 2010
Ha don't get me started!
Jacob Bennett   Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Me either!
Sarah G.   Wednesday, May 12, 2010
49. AMAZING!!!
Lillie   Sunday, June 27, 2010
THe most compelling footage was the sky sequence (4:26 ?) with the geese in flight juxtaposed with the three threatening smoke stacks spewing smoke. Are you familiar with the films of James Benning ?
a must see.
Steve DeGroodt   Thursday, July 1, 2010
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