For the last few weeks, a pair of Canada Geese have been visiting our pond for most of the day, and we’re hoping they might build their nest nearby and raise goslings here. They would be most welcome and also a daily reminder of geese we used to know.
I was a member of Sierra Wildlife Rescue for many years and for part of that time, a member of the Waterfowl Team. I raised and released many ducklings as well as the occasional gosling. But there were two little ones who came to have a special place in our lives. We called them Goose Boy and Goose Girl, although we weren’t clear on their sexes. They were clearly bonded to each other.
I got them when they were only a few days old. At first, they lived in a large plastic bin in my bathroom. Geese don’t feed their offspring. When the goslings are 24 hours old, they can leave the nest and feed themselves. So, taking care of the babies is relatively easy unless they become ill. Thankfully, these two little ones were healthy and stayed that way.
Soon they graduated from the plastic bin to the bathtub (no water, though) and then, after a few more weeks, they moved into a wood and wire crate in the garden. There was plenty of room for them, and they also had a heat lamp. They just kept growing, and soon were ready to venture from the crate. They spent their days in the garden, moving around, checking things out, and looking for yummies.
My sister and I spent a fair amount of time in the garden, and the little geese liked to follow us around. We were all quite comfortable with each other.
Then the day came for them to widen their horizons. Though they always spent their nights in the safety of the crate, we began letting them out of the garden during the day. They didn’t wander far, but they did seem to enjoy having more territory to explore. They liked the grass especially. Sometimes they grazed and sometimes they snoozed, their elegant heads tucked under their wings.
My sister‒we lived in two houses on the same ten acre property‒had a habit of leaving the sliding glass door to her bedroom open. It wasn’t long before the inevitable happened. One day she went inside for lunch, and what should she find but two very comfy geese snoozing happily on her bed?
She quietly retreated, letting Goose Boy and Goose Girl awaken and leave her bedroom in their own time. After that, she seemed a little more careful about keeping that door closed, but she did continue to have the occasional goose visit throughout the wonderful time they were with us.
The geese gave us many blessings: the joy of watching them grow and change, the surprises of the funny and endearing things they’d do, and the widening of the spirit which happens when one is in the presence of wild creatures. But there would be more . . . .