Sunday, April 21, 2013

A Place in the Sun (Where Geese are Welcomed!)

A place in the sun
In these days of goose hazing, egg addling (destruction), hunting and "culling," it is refreshing to learn of one place in the world where geese are actually welcomed.  And nesting geese at that!

"Mr. and Mrs. Goose" have been returning to the same barn in Edmonton, Canada for the past six years to nest. 

Once the goslings hatch (usually in early May), the parents lead them to a nearby pond to spend the first few months of life.

But, the truly extraordinary thing about the Edmonton location is that a web cam is set up every year to monitor the actual nesting and hatching of the little ones!

And apparently the parents don't mind becoming the celebrity darlings of the goose world for oglers like me:

I only discovered the media link a few days ago, but have been checking in with Mrs. Goose every day.

So far, she has not been observed leaving the nest at all, so I am not sure how many eggs she is actually sitting on.

Undoubtedly, it is still very cold and windy in the location as the expectant mother's feathers are always rustling and her head is usually tucked in tightly to her body. One can in fact, hear the howling winds most of the time as the video also has sound.

Despite all the vitriol against them, Canada geese are extraordinary birds.

Though we usually cannot see him in the video, the gander, "Mr. Goose" is not far off from the nesting location and will diligently "guard" and defend the nest with his life for the entire 28 or so days that it takes the eggs to hatch.

This is one of the prime reasons why Canada geese have such high survival rates. Both parents vigorously participate in both, the nesting and raising of young. 

Canada geese mate for life. Should one lose a partner, s/he will actually grieve for some time and may or may not take on another. 

I have personally witnessed this "grieving" several times. 

"Widowed" geese often appear as "loners" from the flock and are usually seen swimming, searching alone and honking on the water as if trying to call the lost mate.  It is a sad sight to see.

It has been profoundly disappointing over the years to learn of the hostility and destruction generated against the magnificent and extraordinary Canada geese. -- Birds who are among the most peaceful animals on earth and represent not only exemplary parents and mates, but also the epitomes in cooperation and organization with their own kind.

Canada geese are among the rare species who willingly take on orphans who are not their own to raise as a post from Carolina Waterfowl Rescue attests to today.  (Apparently, they rescued an orphaned gosling and other Canada geese being treated for injury "adopted" the baby.)       (86) Carolina Waterfowl Rescue

Again, these are among the reasons why Canada geese survive so well even in a world of quickly dwindling wildlife populations as contrasted to an exploding human population (more than 7 billion today).  

These, and the fact that Canada geese are also extremely intelligent, adaptable and have the ability to live on land, water and even sky.  

It would not be surprising if "envy" was one of the reasons so many humans are hostile towards Canada geese. Our own species is not always so devoted and peaceful towards our own kind and nor are we natural to all three elements on earth as geese are.

Still, there are those rare places on earth were geese are actually welcomed by humans!

And this little farm in Edmonton is one of them.

Once again to be grateful and appreciative of those humans who actually "get it."

I eagerly await the hatchings of Mr. and Mrs. Goose's little ones with bated breath.   --- PCA



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