Growing up to be a Canada Goose.

(It’s a work in progress and certainly not the Mother Goose story you grew up with.)

Mama and Papa Goose swim … the goslings swim.

Mama and Papa Goose graze … the goslings graze too.

But, what happens when Mama and Papa Goose fight with each another? Whose side do ya take?

The narrative and photos in this post originate from the Fish & Loaves Virtual 5K that I participated in on May 9th and was the subject of yesterday’s blog post. During that trek, you may recall I saw a pair of Canada Geese at the Sawmill at Heritage Park.

Initially, when I took that picture, I failed to see their two goslings that were nearby in the water. Perhaps the parents felt threatened by my presence (though I was certainly not THAT close to them), as Mama and Papa Goose decided it was time to vamoose!

I watched as the parents slid into the water next to their offspring and began the journey across Coan Lake. Right away I noticed they had only two goslings, not the usual five or six. I felt a little sad wondering what happened to the rest of the clan?

Aren’t they sweet?

These geese and goslings had some powerful paddling prowess and crossed Coan Lake in a matter of minutes.

I decided to hightail it back near the covered bridge to be the official Welcoming Committee.

Mama Goose scoped me out to ensure I was not a threat to the family since I kept turning up like a bad penny.

Of course they had to have a bite to eat … all that swimming made them hungry.

Mama Goose, still skeptical of why I was there, watched me out of the corner of her eye while grazing.

When you’re still a wee one, of course your eyes get heavy with a tummyful of grass and while basking in the sunshine … sometimes you just have to take a load off your feet.

With geese, I notice they are always aware of their surroundings, swiveling their heads on their slender necks to ensure they and/or their brood are safe from land predators, or even human predators like me. But, it is also important to beware of strange non-waterfowl creatures that lurk at the water’s edge.

See how Mama checks out this Tree Swallow …

… who suddenly felt threatened and moved down the seawall. The gosling, mimicking its mother, craned its neck backward to scope out the Big Bad Tree Swallow.

The other gosling was too engrossed in eating to be bird watching. Look at those big feet!

Domestic bliss; then in a heartbeat … Mama and Papa go ballistic!

After their quick snack, I watched Mama and Papa Goose herd their small brood back to the water’s edge. Mama was in the lead, the two goslings toddling behind her. Those little chicks walked down the small ramp that the Mallards use to ease themselves into Coan Lake. Papa followed close behind.

A Fox squirrel appeared at my side, looking up at me and since I always carry peanuts in my pocket, I was happy to oblige him. In that few seconds that I reached for peanuts and bent down to give them to my furry pal, I almost missed all the action.

Suddenly I heard honking and splashing noises, then noticed a blur of brown wings flapping and water churning. Wow – a little goose drama is always good for a few shots in a blog post. I looked closely while wondering “so, was it an intruder trying to hurt Mama and/or her babies?”

Watching through the camera window, I was amazed to discover it was Mama and Papa who were having the spat. (In front of the kids no less!) It is not the first time I’ve seen what appeared to be mates fighting like this. It usually starts out as a honk or a hiss and soon, there goes the marital bliss!

Papa Goose was flailing about, his feathers obviously ruffled about something and Mama Goose was no slouch in this squabble either. She matched every hiss and honk by Papa Goose in kind. I wasn’t quick enough to get both of their bodies in one shot as they squared off like a couple of cowboy gunslingers, hissing wildly, eyes bugged out and necks stretched low to the surface of the water.

In the below photo you see just how aggressive Mama was with her mate! Meanwhile, the goslings were off to the side, their eyes glued to the scene like they were watching a pay-per-view fight night event. Yikes!

But I had a little smile when the fight was over and Mama, still a tad riled up, was joined by her goslings. Please notice the gosling on the left hissing at Papa. Yep, he’s a go-getter that one. 🙂

Soon Papa Goose joined the trio albeit a tad sulky and standoffish for now.

A mere moment later, all apparent grievances were resolved and everyone seemed happy for the time being and paddling around like nothing had happened.

Hmm – humans take note how easy that resolution was.

Postscript – A few minutes later the family climbed up on land again, Papa Goose was still lagging a little behind (perhaps not quite welcomed back into the fold of the family just yet). So, there I stood, the annoying women with the camera, who was ready to air their dirty laundry to the rest of the world. Mama Goose glared at me, so I got the heck out of Dodge before I was next to bear the brunt of her anger!

I’ll leave you with this quote:

The universe is wider than our views of it. ~ Henry David Thoreau

About Linda Schaub

This is my first blog and I enjoy writing each and every post immensely. I started a walking regimen in 2011 and decided to create a blog as a means of memorializing the people, places and things I see on my daily walks. I have always enjoyed people watching, and so my blog is peppered with folks I meet, or reflections of characters I have known through the years. Often something piques my interest, or evokes a pleasant memory from my memory bank, so this becomes a “slice o’ life” blog post that day. I respect and appreciate nature and my interaction with Mother Nature’s gifts is also a common theme. Sometimes the most-ordinary items become fodder for points to ponder over and touch upon. My career has been in the legal field and I have been a legal secretary for four decades, primarily working in downtown Detroit, and now working from my home. I graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in print journalism in 1978, though I’ve never worked in that field. I like to think this blog is the writer in me finally emerging!! Walking and writing have met and shaken hands and the creative juices are flowing once again in Walkin’, Writin’, Wit & Whimsy – hope you think so too. - Linda Schaub
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60 Responses to Growing up to be a Canada Goose.

  1. Sandra J says:

    What a wonderful story from beginning to end. I just love that they stick together like that to care for the young, and even in bird world they can have bad days. But forgive each other in the end. The babies are so so cute, the first picture is adorable, those little tiny wings. 🙂 You can not help but smile.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Linda Schaub says:

    Glad you got a smile from this post Sandra. Originally I planned to have this story be part of the virtual 5K walk, then decided the story should be on its own. I loved that first picture too – I wanted to use the title “Whee!” I often see the mates just go off on each other and have had posts showing them walking together, then the other one starts lowering its head and hissing or honking for a few minutes, then they go on about their business. In fact, I had one such encounter here at Heritage Park … maybe it’s the same pair! Have a good day Sandra.

    Like

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Anne – The goslings and their antics made me smile. They were just glued to the parents fighting … I wondered if they said to themselves “some day I’m gonna make those moves too!”

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ally Bean says:

    Those gosling feet are wonderful. Kind of looks like they shouldn’t be able to walk/waddle, but they do.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Linda Schaub says:

    I am struck by how big their feet are too Ally … it’s like they need to grow into them or should be tripping over them. 🙂

    Like

  5. Ron Walker says:

    I was drawn into the story. The pictures really told so much. I too, wonder what happened to the others, or why they only had two. I miss going to the park and seeing the ducks and geese there.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Ron – I miss my regular Park where I walk almost every day. It’s been closed for two weeks now and even though our Governor here in Michigan encourages walks and hiking and in general being outdoors, it was the Mayor that closed down all 22 of our City parks due to the high incidence of deaths/cases (5,000/50,000+). I often go there before a walk at the bigger parks on the weekend as well as weekly before I start work. So I am missing the goslings growing up and documenting how quickly they grow up. I was down at the Detroit River yesterday and saw at least four different geese families, all with goslings in different stages of growth, some with their plumage in and looked ready to fledge. The smallest goslings were having a tough time since there were lots of motorboats, and the waves were rocking the goslings making it difficult for them to stay upright. I took a lot of photos and hope they come out okay and will use them in the next week or so. I spent about a 1/2.hour watching this family so it made a nice little story, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen just two goslings in a family of geese.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Cherie Hancock says:

    Such a delightful story, Linda! I love watching animals and trying to figure out what they are thinking! Your blog brings a smile to my face! I think you would be a great author of childrens’ books!
    Cherie

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Cherie – Glad to give you a smile. This little family was so cute … I followed them for a half-hour and they were on the go constantly. Even the one gosling that plopped down didn’t stay that way for long as they went back into the water, and that’s when the fight occurred. I went to the Detroit River yesterday and went to BASF Park again. I saw four different families of geese and goslings in different stages of growth. The tiniest ones were having trouble paddling straight since there were many boaters out and the waves were too big for the goslings to handle, so I am sure they felt seasick. 🙂 I would love to do that Cherie some day. I don’t know if it could happen but it is something fun to dream about.

      Like

  7. surely they had more goslings? They must of lost them due to winged predators?
    You did a good job documenting their travels Linda!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Schaub says:

      I am sure this is the firs time I’ve ever seen less than 5-6 goslings in a family. I felt sad Wayne as I wondered what happened to the rest? I have never seen hawks or any raptors at this park – it is right in the City, but Council Point Park is right in the City too and we have hawks. Thank you – they were fun to watch and the little goslings kept up with their parents as they crossed Coan Lake in no time flat. It is big, three acres altogether and a depth of 9-18 feet.

      Like

  8. Eliza says:

    It’s awesome!!! I wanted to get that close today but was running. Maybe I should go tomorrow just to take pictures.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Yes, funny as I said to you in the other post “great about running, but stop to smell the roses and take pictures.” I am glad you are enjoying taking pictures … it’s such a great way to relive your experiences. This little gosling flipping his wings was so cute … he/she will be long grown up and I’ll still picture it running toward the water … so cute.

      Like

      • Eliza says:

        I didn’t stop. Not worth stopping… as in I’m running so need to keep at it. Posted both I took on Instagram now. They were yellow furries I think ? You’ll know better 🙂
        Love, light and glitter

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        They are the same as ours Ellie – I just took a peek. In fact I thought you had just the gray-colored geese for some reason. Was I narrow-minded thinking Canada Geese would not go to the UK?

        Like

      • Eliza says:

        Lol. No idea…. these are the geese I know…. i don’t know birds. As you know because you’re teaching me 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Next time I see these gray geese I will let you know. The Swedish photographer does not post anymore – it’s been ages … it could even be Andy, the UK photographer that I gave you his site for the old stone buildings and photos near the sea. He photographs a ton of shore birds and other birds.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Eliza says:

        Re running. When running it’s about focusing on running.
        I posted a swan nesting today. I think I really want a good camera. That I can zoom up. And came across a little pond with ducks, can’t recall the black ones name but I’ll check tomorrow by my normal pond. I hope to go back to take pictures (didn’t want to waste my phones battery life as I was alone).
        💕💕💕💕💕

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Lucky you and you had just mentioned the black ducks when I did my post mentioning the black ducks. Ours are American Black Ducks and I don’t see them often and this was the first time I saw them on land. I will look at your swan … I’m about ready to go to Reader. Tomorrow I have a post that will publish in the morning and it has the Pekin, Mallard Hybrid and a regular Hybrid in it. Lots of ducks, but no ducklings. I’ve never seen a swan nesting before.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Eliza says:

        Waiting for your post to come live!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I have been trying to schedule all my posts now for 5:00 a.m. … that has been working out better on that schedule. I was trying for Mondays and Thursdays, then added in Wordless Wednesday … I think I can keep doing the WW for a while longer – I have taken a ton of photos since taking the camera with me again on May 1st.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Maybe he mentioned that her backside was getting a little big. That will do it every time!

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Laurie says:

    Ha! So geese have spats, just like human couples do. Poor Mama goose! See how I sympathize with the female? I have never seen anything like that before. You notice things most of us miss, Linda. I am glad to hear the goose story has a (sort of) happy ending!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Yes, I’ve caught several spats between mates – usually they are back to normal five minutes later, but the histrionics in the meantime is really worth watching. Last time I was at this park, it was a Mallard that went kind of crazy in the lake and the rest paddled away and were watching from afar. I was lucky to be there when this fight erupted. Yes Laurie it ended well, but that Mama Goose was still in a bad mood … she held her head high and a little rigid, maybe like a human “setting their jaw” so as to not speak anymore and cause further squabbling.

      Like

  11. ruthsoaper says:

    Your story put a whole new twist on Mother Goose. LOL! I really do wonder what the big fight was about.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Rebecca says:

    Such cute little goslings! Sorry to hear about the family argument and glad peace and harmony were restored. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Don’t you just want to pick up one of those fuzzy darlings and take it home with you, especially the one trying its wings out. 🙂 Those squabbles between goose mates is not uncommon. I’ve seen quite a few and taken pictures of them … five minutes later, all is well again. Canada Geese are very loyal to their mates and have the same mate for life.

      Like

  13. Joni says:

    That was a very entertaining story Linda….both the storyline and the photos….well done! Sounds like another children’s book to me!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Joni – that was a fun blog post to put together. I originally intended to have it be part of the virtual race, but the post was getting too long and the story was too amusing so I thought it merited its own post. I would love that … this story might rival some of my Parker stories for cute critters. 🙂

      Like

  14. susieshy45 says:

    Hi Linda,
    You had so many funny notes in the post above and I am going to try my best at writing them out below, they gave me a laugh.
    “But, what happens when Mama and Papa Goose fight with each other? Whose side do ya take?”- of course, we take Mama’s side, we always do. We know who rules, right? My kids did the same too.
    ” I decided to hightail it back near the covered bridge to be the official welcoming committee”- I laughed and laughed at this. How did you do this ? Wasn’t it a virtual walk ?
    “Mama Goose scope me out to ensure I was not a threat to the family since I kept turning up like a bad penny”- your similes always get me smiling!!
    ” Of course, they had to have a bite to eat, all that swimming made them hungry . Mother goose— watched me out of the corner of her eye, while grazing.”
    All very good sentences- I feel tired after eating too- I have been told it is because of metabolic syndrome but perhaps this very active toddler doesn’t have it yet.
    “When you are a wee one, of course your eyes get heavy with a tummyful of grass while basking in the sunshine, sometimes you just have to take a load off your feet”- love the way you put this.
    ” The gosling mimicking its mother, craned its neck backward to scope out the Big Bad Tree Swallow” – found this really funny and the picture hilarious.
    ” The other gosling was too busy eating to be birdwatching”- the silky hair of that gosling- no shampoo can give a human that shine- really good picture.
    I loved all these expressions and many more but my message is getting too long.
    Keep writing, Linda, your posts make for great humour content.
    Susie

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed this post Susie – I am glad you read it as you sure need a smile right now, not only worries about your upcoming move but your husband’s health over the course of this pandemic … the last 10 weeks have been tough … I’ve been lucky as I had no reason to venture out, but soon I will have to also, but not you two. I had so much fun writing this post. It originally was to be incorporated into the virtual walk (Saturday’s post), but I thought it merited it own post due to the sweet goslings and the antics of all of them. This was my first virtual walk … the criteria was just that you ran/walked the 5K (3.2 miles), anywhere and anytime between May 4th and June 30th. You paid your donation/fee … the donation went to the food bank, the handling fee was separate, so it is a good cause. We will get the finishing medal and shirt in July. I actually walked 5 1/2 miles that day, but just recorded my time for the 3.2 miles that I walked (slow because I stopped to take pictures).

      Liked by 1 person

  15. The gosling pictures are adorable next to their parents! It must’ve been interesting to see the spat and to take pictures of it. Dramatic family dynamics…both humans and animals.
    And your Thoreau quote. How fitting to your post.
    I really enjoyed reading the narrative of your stroll and your analytical observations.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Esther – it is my favorite time of year seeing the goslings and I am sorry to miss the goslings’ growth at the park where I usually walk daily – you can watch them growing up and its amazing to see how quickly they go from little fuzzballs to resembling their parents … by the time they fledge, unless you are close up to them, you cannot tell the parents from the gosling. I thought you’d like that quote since it was a Thoreau quote that caused us to start following one another’s blogs.

      Like

      • A Thoreau quote to start a blogging friendship! I can imagine how quickly the little goslings will mature. My friend got a Husky puppy; so small and active. A few months later, I was surprised how big it got. Couldn’t believe she still called it a puppy.
        I became a big fan of Thoreau when my high school/ college writing tutor talked about him. He was a writer/ philosopher/ and teacher. We both strived to write books in the future and I loved his thinking around ideas. He promised to write the introduction to my first book and called me Thoreau. I couldn’t get a response email from him for a few years; thought he was busy. Ugh, found out last year that he passed from cancer a few years back. I was so shocked and sad. I think that’s why I have a deeper connection with Thoreau’s writing because it reminds me of him, Jeff.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I didn’t know you wrote a book – I went back and looked at your “About” page as I did not think I remembered reading that – how exciting that you are an author. That would be sad to find out that was the reason you did not hear back from him. That’s nice you have that connection to remember Jeff by.

        Like

      • Oh no…I did not write a book!! I must’ve not explained it properly. When I write a book, Jeff was going to write the forward. Sorry for the misunderstanding. I wrote a acholarly article and a dissertation but those are boring reads.
        I need to go back and check, but I believe he was a published author/ poet.
        It was disheartening to learn of his passing. I just thought he was extremely busy. He is very missed. We had some great memories and editing sessions.

        Like

      • He published a book of poetry called “Late Confessions.” You can find it here: http://www.dabhakti.com.

        Like

      • He was also the editor for his father’s book titled The Heart Healers. His dad is a doctor but I didn’t know his field was cardiology. Wow, gotta read it myself. Close to home issue for me.
        I’m learning something new about my late teacher in writing to you about him.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Interesting – hopefully his book will put your mind at ease. I read some of the other poetry. Very nice.

        Like

      • Oh, thank you for checking out his work!! That is so thoughtful of you.
        He was deeply philosophical and witty, and I wished to think and read avidly like him.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I had a philosphy class in school, but our teacher was not too popular as he was so learned that he spoke way above our heads. He would go off on tangents and then get mad at us because he had no class participation. 🙂 It is all in the presentation as to who makes the class interesting I think. He was too bookish and scholarly that we often tuned him out. I had to take an archeology class one time. I thought it would be a very interesting class, but we had a professor who did nothing but read straight from the book, sitting behind his desk, not even standing at lectern. He would not look at the class, just down at the book, a real monotone voice and didn’t invite class participation, so it was a dull class unfortunately. I remember nodding off many times, as my pen trailed off the page while taking notes.

        Like

      • I took philosophy too in college and didn’t get much out of it. The teacher was talking over us. I just remember taking copious notes and thinking how weird he said “provocative” in every other sentence. I think he assumed we knew more than we did and didn’t give us an introduction.
        Professors are quirky! Some are so good at teaching that you fall in love with the subject and others are so “meh” that you end up more confused. Man, archeology sounds like interesting! My kids are both crazy about dinosaurs and Ellis used to say she wanted to become an archeologist. lol. She loves to dig and search.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Yes, you’re right Esther – in fact the archeology class could have been fascinating, but he did not take the time to make it so, however, I had an ancient history class and the professor had a friend who was a dentist. And this history teacher and his dentist friend did a study of dental work done on Egyptian mummies and it was done in conjunction with University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Our history teacher was part of the team which they wentin and unwrapped the mummy and did their studies – he brought in slides to show us what they did and it had a name which I’ll spell phonetically – it was Poom II (I think spelled Pum II).

        Like

  16. The little goslings look adorable… unlike an ugly duckling like me; i fell in the dark (walking backwards with our garbage-can on rollers) last night and now i have some head swelling. Nothing egotistical, mind you. 🙂 I’ll be OK and next time i’ll take a flashlight; i had walked smack into our picnic-table.

    Having a spat in front of the kids… how avian-human-like! 🙂

    We’ve been getting tons of rain. The river is rising and they need to remove logs jammed up against the bridge. It’s definitely duck and goose season! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Yikes – you need an icebag on that goose egg on your head Tom. I ordered a headlamp from Amazon today because my cellarway light went out and you need a 9-foot stepladder to reach it. Even with such a ladder I would not do it. I’m not big on climbing much past the second step of a ladder – I had two coworkers that fell one Memorial Day … one shattered his ankle and the other shattered her wrist. It will await when the gutters are cleaned by the handyman. The only way I could see to go downstairs is to use a flashlight which was not good if your hands were full of something like laundry, etc. That’s a good idea for you too!

      Yes, a spat in front of the sweet goslings. They sure were sweet and fuzzy looking.

      We have had tons of rain too. This is day two of non-stop rain and more coming tomorrow and Friday. I have a post coming out tomorrow showing a big park where the water has overflowed at the canal banks and is across a walkway and a seagull and some ducks are standing on cement and rocks respectively … they are part of the landscape not in the canal. I have more gosling pics taken last Saturday down on the Detroit River to share, likely my last of Spring 2020. There were different families and one set of goslings had all their plumage in and looked ready to fledge. The others were sweet balls of fluff like these goslings were.

      Stay safe in all aspects!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh my, i’m not one for climbing around up high either! Now that i’m older my balance isn’t as good as it used to be. But i don’t feel too bad… in this world of mentally unbalanced people.

        I’m recovering quite well from my fall. Maybe it knocked some sense into me! The rain continues here. This morning, the Watseka Transportation Engineers cleared out all of the logs that were caught on the bridge supports… which is great! The river is high, but not threateningly high.

        I love geese and ducks! 🙂
        Stay safe!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Sadly our balance is one thing that goes when we get older – I just turned 64 last month. But a ladder is not something I like, so I use it and get off it as soon as I can. Glad to hear you recovered nicely. It’s those oddball things that trip you up, literally and figuratively!

        That’s a good thing the engineers cleared the logjam – you sure don’t need that problem with the rivers rising as they are now. They had extensive flooding in Monroe and Lake Erie … I won’t be going to that park for a while either.

        I like ducks and geese too Tom. Those goslings made my day!

        Like

  17. AnnMarie R stevens says:

    Miss Linda…………………………you are a good story teller!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Wow drama even with the geese! Lol I don’t think I have seen only two babies before. I bet you’re right and something got to them. The fuzzy babies are so darn cute!! Your pictures are so clear they look like a professional took them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Yes, I’ve seen them hissing and flapping at their mates before a few times, but mostly on land. This time, it happened so fast, they were right there grazing and next thing they are doing their imitation of “The Bickersons”. Oh, the babies are so fuzzy you want to pick them up don’t you? Thank you for the compliment Diane – I got fairly close without alarming the parents … my favorite was the gosling running toward the water with his wings up in the air. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  19. ritu thakre says:

    Nice!
    What a wonderful story from beginning to end.
    thanks for sharing us.

    Like

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