Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Neither Arrows, Gunshot, Nor Missing Limbs Deter Canada Geese from Their True Loves

Stumpy hobbling on grass with her missing foot plainly visible.She has endured the condition for some years with her devoted mate by her side.
Stanley in protective mode as Stumpy peacefully nibbles on grass.
Though she usually lags behind on land and in water, Stanley waits
Stanley and Stumpy patiently dealing with pesky mallards over the summer molt at Turtle Pond. But they may soon leave as the ability to fly has once again returned.
Since May, I have been enamored of a particular love story between two geese I named Stanley and Stumpy staying at Turtle Pond in Central Park through the nesting and molting seasons.  

Stumpy is easily recognizable to regular park visitors over the years as she is completely missing her right foot. It's not known how Stumpy's foot was severed some years back, but guess is that the injury was either due to fishing line or a snapping turtle.

But Stumpy is not left to deal with her disability alone. Her long standing, protective and devoted mate, Stanley is always by her side or nearby.

True, Stumpy cannot keep up with Stanley either on the ground or in the water. (She hobbles on land and slightly bobbles or is tilted to one side in the water.) But it doesn't matter. He accepts and loves her as she is. Dumping Stumpy for a younger, prettier or healthier female goose is not an option for Stanley. If he has to wait for his lady to catch up to him, so be it. The two can be seen most nights, romantically lazing on the water together at Turtle Pond -- though that may not be true much longer. With the molting season now over, it's possible the two romantic partners might soon take to the skies once again. There is nothing wrong with Stumpy's ability to fly.

The two geese briefly attempted nesting this year. But, apparently the eggs were not viable and Stumpy was forced to abandon the effort. Considering her age and disability, I personally considered the outcome probably more of a blessing in disguise. The two love partners briefly mourned their losses for a few days and then carried on.

Another example of undying love and commitment despite adversity in Canada geese is this news article from Canada entitled, "Arrow Through Belly Doesn't Deter Father Goose from Tending to his Goslings."  http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/one-tough-bird-father-goose-carries-on-despite-arrow-through-belly-1.4216703   The article describes and shows a gander who, despite an arrow though his chest and shotgun pellets in his body, still protected and tended to his mate and offspring. (Fortunately the gander has been rescued and the arrow removed; hopefully to soon return to his family.)

Perhaps now we know where the expression, "Tough Ol' Gander" comes from.

But truth is, that neither arrows, gunshot pellets, failed nestings or even missing limbs deter Canada geese from their true loves.

"Till Death Do Us Part" is not just expression or ideal for Canada geese. It is indeed, their way of life.  -- PCA


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