Meet the New Neighbors

Audubon Canada Goose

There’s a building boom out here in the country! We have new families moving in daily and new homes are being started all over.

This happens every spring – and no, I’m not speaking about humans! I’m taking about the birds!

With the melting of the ice and the arrival of open water, we always welcome our largest and most aggressive new neighbors… Canadian geese.

We watch the massive flocks fly over heading north, but every year a few couples decide to take advantage of the nest boxes we placed in our ponds and filled with hay.

They choose the pond and the nest box they like best and set about to fill that nest with eggs.

And then they claim their territory!

My daily walks have taken on a new aspect as I carefully walk by the ponds, watching for the daddy geese who tend to stand guard.

I’ve learned to start clapping as I approach the ponds to give them fair warning – I’ve heard that a goose bite is something you don’t soon forget! I’ve also learned to watch where I step…if you know what I mean…especially as time goes on.

Every year we try to get a glimpse of the goslings after they hatch, but they are elusive.

Then as soon as they little ones are big enough, they disappear from our pond altogether. One year we watched them walk across the pasture and down the road, just like in the children’s classic “Make Way for Ducklings”.

Where they go, we’ve yet to discover.

But for a few weeks every spring we share our ponds with these impressive water fowl in exchange for a front row  seat for the miracle of  new birth.

It’s a pretty fair exchange I’d say!

Canadian Geese

We have just two Canadian Geese couples nesting this year, one couple on Finger Lake and one on Our Pond. (I know that’s not a very original name, but that’s what we called it until we came up with a better one, and I’m afraid it stuck.)

Usually by this time of the year we’ve had several run-ins with Daddy geese who tend to take over the property, but this year it’s been pretty quiet.

They can be very territorial when the Mamas are nesting and after being chased a few times, we have learned to give them a wide berth.

I did run into Papa Goose on the dam while taking a walk one evening, but he waddled out of the way quickly while loudly sounding the alarm.

A few days later I was able to sit on the dock at Finger Lake and watch one of the couples swimming around the pond for several minutes before the mama climbed back in the nest box. Beautiful!

Then just last night the boys ran into a Papa Goose right on the lawn by the house. It is rare to have them so close, and a little uncomfortable. They watched him graze for a few minutes and then carefully walked around him into the house.

It’s a blessing to be so close to a wild creature like this and be able to observe it’s habits, to hear the whooshing of its wings as they fly low over our head, and to watch it land gracefully on the pond.

Just one more thing to be thankful for here in the country.