Canada Geese Go Home!

Canada geese are gorgeous birds to look at. But why, oh why, do I have to see them here at Glen Villa?

Towards the end of May I saw two adults swimming with their little ones. How many babies were there?

 

Talk about getting all your ducks in a row....
Talk about getting all your ducks in a row….or your geese in this case.

 

The goslings swam in and out of sight, and each time I counted I got a different number. But I could see there were a lot of them.

The next day I saw them again. And again I couldn’t get a firm count. But there were twelve or thirteen, for sure.

 

I took this photo on May 31.
The babies are very cute, and the parent quite handsome. But boy, are they messy!

 

I first photographed the goslings on May 30 but I’d seen them several days earlier. They were tiny then. But by June 6, when I took the photo below, they were beginning to grow.

 

The gosling in the rear must have hatched earlier than the one in front... there is a marked difference in their size.
The gosling in the rear must have hatched earlier than the one in front… there is a marked difference in size.

 

The goslings and their parents revelled in the fresh grass beside the pond, nibbling happily in the morning sun or the afternoon shade. Whenever a car turned onto the driveway, they rushed into the water where they were safe.

 

I often saw the parents standing like this, on either side of the gaggle of goslings, looking out for danger.
I often saw the parents standing like this, on either side of the gaggle of goslings, alert for danger.

 

One day I got a clear count. There were 13. And since Canada geese return to their birthplace when they are ready to have babies, I slumped at the thought of how many geese we could anticipate seeing next year.

But the worst was yet to come. One day last week I saw a second family. There were only four babies but even so, my heart sank. Soon the parents would be leading the babies down the driveway to the Big Meadow. In 2016 we stopped cutting the grass there, in part to deter the geese, and the experiment had been working reasonably well. But with four adults and 17 babies?

The next day I saw them strolling confidently down the driveway, on their way to the lake. You’d think they owned the place.

 

 

You can see the four adults. Can you count 17 goslings?
You can see the four adults. Can you count 17 goslings?

 

The next day I saw six adults. They had no babies I could see. So were they grandparents or a pair whose eggs didn’t hatch?

I wish I could tell these geese to go home. But it looks like they are at home, and here to stay.

  • Oh, dear; they do seem to be making themselves at home. I guess that makes sense since they are Canada geese and you live in Canada.

    • siteandinsight

      I’ll happily send all my Canada geese your way, Jean! Not sure you’d thank me…

  • Lisa Wagner

    Resident Canada geese are not a good thing, as you know. The ones that don’t migrate — they’re real pests in the Southeasten US, where I spend half the year (as well as in the NW U.S.).

    It’s interesting, I suppose, that you’re having them for the first time. Are they an outlier that didn’t fly south? Some of our non-migratory gene pool that’s spread north?

    In any case, they’re problematic, although interesting.

    • siteandinsight

      I wish this were the first time, Lisa. They began to come here about six or seven years ago. They must go south since we don’t see them until courting time in April. then they disappear until re-appearing with babies. Perhaps I should accept them and simply admire their style and persistence but i can’t.

  • annewareham

    O, the joys of a wildlife garden!!

    • siteandinsight

      Some wild life is good, some wildlife is not.

      • annewareham

        True!

  • Around here once the eagles find out where they are that’s it …….lunch!

    • siteandinsight

      Perhaps there is hope, then. We have seen eagles here for several years.

  • The Chicago Botanic Garden found that sheep dogs were the best way to get rid of geese. The dogs would constantly try to round up the geese, who couldn’t stand to be bossed about.

    • siteandinsight

      Sheep dogs, labs: any dog will do. But someone has to be in charge of the dog, not me!

  • My sympathies. If the eagles don’t do the job, perhaps there is a sheep dog in your future.

    • siteandinsight

      Our daughter lives next door and her dog has shown zero interest so far in chasing geese away. But I’m working on her! (The dog, not the daughter!)

      • Yes, but is she a sheep dog?

        • siteandinsight

          She is a sheep-ish dog, of the Labrador variety.