Monday, July 3, 2017

Trying to Figure Out the Geese

The first year we lived here our neighbor told us how this one certain pair of Canadian geese always nested and raised their babies. Everyone new it was the same pair coming back year after year because the mama goose had a bad leg. The above photo is from the first April, 2009 - five babies.

The seasons rolled around. Mama sat on her nest, the babies hatched. Nothing bothered her and her nest except a stray turtle or two looking to sun bathe.

Then a year with NO babies! It was finally figured out that the board supporting the tire nest had rotted through. The bottom was replace and next year, babies, again.

Seven babies. 2015 was a very good year! Same mama and papa; same joy watching the little ones grow.

Every year other geese try to move in but the resident gander easily chases them away. Last year his job was a little harder. It looked like one of those ganders was going down - literally!

The resident, long-time gander won and three little ones were hatched. Then something strange happened....

....another pair showed up with their half grown family of five - being herded along the dam here by the lawn mower - while the original family observe from the water. There were a few squabbles, but soon both families were coexisting.

This spring saw yet another twist. The resident couple nested on the pond while another couple built a nest near the little windmill at the edge of the pond. Both mamas stayed on their nests about the same length of time. On April 23 we saw the first babies. The pair that nested at the edge of the pond hatched four little ones.
We watched and waited. After four or five days the first pair abandoned their nest on the water. No little ones. We don't know what role the muskrats might have played in their failure, as we did see muskrats sitting on the board next to the tire nest several times.

We watched the four babies develop until you could hardly tell them from the parents. I was thinking it wouldn't be long before they took off.

Then two weeks ago I had another surprise, a second pair of geese showed up with two goslings still in the downy phase of development. Just like last year. Where do they come from? I speculate that they are hatched on the pond up on the hill and that the parents walk them down here.
Well, two families of geese on the pond two years in a row. That's nice. Maybe the new norm?

Ten days later you could have knocked me over with one of those goose feathers when I saw....
 ......another pair with this one lone little gosling! Now where did they come from? And which ones, if any, (I haven't been able to tell yet) are our original pair?

The little one staying under mom's tail for protection from the raindrops.

Here they are, all three families peacefully eating near each other.

Watching the babies hatch and grow each year has become a tradition. But trying to figure out the multiple families the last two years is something I have yet to be able to do.
Maybe I should just quit trying to figure out the geese and enjoy them?

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