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Nature in it's glory

Nature in it's glory

Mar 24, 2010

Canada Goose

Geese in flight
One of the birds that I see frequently when I visit the parks here in the city is the Canada Goose.  In the spring  and fall especially, but throughout the summer as well, they are seen flying everywhere, sometimes in formation and sometimes only in pairs, their loud honking heard even at a distance. On occasion you will even see a goose flying all by itself, although that is an odd event, as geese are clearly social creatures, who greet each other rather noisily in welcome when arriving wherever other geese are present.

Like all social creatures, they also have likes and dislikes in regards individuals, and so you will sometimes see one goose attempt to chase another off.  You will even see all the Geese in one group attempt to chase  individuals away from their current chosen territory.  Geese also have group leaders, who lead flight formations and make decisions in regards to departure times during migration.  This can be noted clearly in the fall, as they depart for warmer climes, as I have observed on several occasions.  Once they arrive for the season however, individuals clearly make their own decisions in regards to where to fly to socialize and hang out.  They have their favorite places to visit and rest from their long migratory journey, and they usually hang around for a few weeks before heading to their nesting grounds, where ever those may be.

Pair of Canada Geese

Lone Canada Goose

As often as I see the Canada Goose however, I have never seen them nesting in the city.  What I have noted though, is that many people love the Canada Goose.  From senior citizens to children, all seem to take great delight in observing and feeding them.  As a result many of the Geese are quite used to people and they will come fairly close, even feeding from your hand directly, if you don't make any sudden movements.  Feeding Geese is a particularly delightful experience for children and many people take their children and grandchildren to the parks to do so. This is great, as it teaches children to appreciate and interact with nature to some extent, but please feed them responsibly if you do so.  Geese and Ducks have very specific dietary requirements and they could get sick as a result of being fed the wrong foods.

Geese squabbling

I like to feed the Geese on occasion myself, but when I do I bring oats rather than bread to spread in the grass for them, having noted that Geese will graze on grass. Oats are related to grass after all.  I feed Geese and Ducks in order to give back to nature, in appreciation for the bounty she provides for me in terms of beauty and peace more than anything else.  I was in fact motivated to do so, after a very brief and special moment that  my brother and I shared with a lone goose, who sought out our company at a pond one day late in the spring.  We had gone for a walk and when we arrived at the pond, we were surprised to discover that there was only one Goose in the entire pond.   There were not even ducks around, or in fact other people, which was not at all typical.

Geese close up

We sat down in the grass to soak up the sun and relax.  It wasn't long before we noticed that the Goose was swimming closer and closer towards us.  She did not appear to be afraid.   At first we thought that the Goose was expecting to be fed, like many Geese do when they see people.  But this turned out not to be the case.  In fact, she seemed to be simply lonely, since she would have left as soon as she realized we had no food to share with her otherwise.

My brother and I stayed quietly where we were, watching as she finally got out of the water, and before we knew it, the Goose was resting in the grass, quite contentedly, mere inches from our feet.  She was in fact, close enough for us to touch her, if we chose to do so, which of course we didn't.  We simply accepted the fact that she was there.   Naturally I couldn't resist taking some pictures, as you can see below, but she didn't seem to mind.

The Goose stayed with us until we left a long time later.  Her easy acceptance of our presence and companionship was as delightful as it was unusual.  I don't know about my brother, but I found the whole of the experience to be, not only truly peaceful, but more enhanced by the presence of this bird.  Since the peace I experienced enveloped me for quite some time afterward, I sincerely hope that the Goose gained some benefit from our presence as well.

Canada Goose visits
After all, simply sharing a space with the presence of another living being, can bring not only peace and companionship, but comfort for all, both great and small. This, it seems to me now, is especially so when there is true acceptance; one without fear and expectation, as neither we, nor the goose had any, or so it appeared at the time, and maybe that is a simple lesson to be learned here.  In any event, I am grateful for the experience and truly hope others may experience the same, or at  the very least something similar to it .  As usual if you wish to learn more about the Canada Goose please follow the links above and below:



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