If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!

We all enjoy a good chuckle from social media memes, tee-shirts … even bumper snickers. I’ve seen the expression used today in my headline countless times. It claims to have Southern origins as early as 1850 – 1900 and was even parlayed into the 1998 song “When Mama Ain’t Happy” by country music singer Tracy Byrd.

Although neither the memes, nor the saying, are generally associated with Mother’s Day, this humorous expression begged to be paired with this series of images I saw while meandering around Coan Lake at Heritage Park.

After a quick stop at the Conservatory and Botanical Gardens to check out their fresh Spring plantings, I was disappointed to discover the blossoms from that park’s many flowering trees were scattered on the ground. There went that photo op. Hmm … the flowering trees in the ‘hood were and ARE still beautiful and blossoming.

So I decided to focus instead on getting images of cute and fuzzy goslings, though chances were slim they had already hatched and were following their parents around. After a quick tour of Heritage Park’s historical area and around Coan Lake, there were no gosling sightings, but I did find a Canada goose sitting on a nest. I mused this was the second sighting for me this year after never seeing a goose on a nest before.

But, unlike the goose on a nest at Lake Erie Metropark, this Mama goose was not out in the middle of a marsh with Papa goose guarding her and his impending family. Nope … not at all. This soon-to-be-Mama looked uncomfortable as she sat atop the big rocks at the base of the covered bridge.

Here is a photo of the covered bridge and those rocks …

… and here is Mama Goose incubating the eggs. If you look closely, you will see nesting materials beneath her belly feathers. Unfortunately there is a shadow from the bridge but this was my best and safest vantage point to take photos of her.

I knew her mate could not be far, so I dared not stray any closer to Mama and their nesting territory lest he attack me as ganders are known to do if anyone/anything strays too close to a nest. A few years ago here in Southeast Michigan, we had some young golfers out on an Oakland County course and one of them accidentally got too close to a Canada goose nest and the gander attacked him, sending him to the ground, golf bag spilling its clubs and he landed with arms and legs akimbo. Except for his wounded pride, the young man was not injured and one of his companions whipped out his phone and shot some photos of the attack, which was circulated nationally on social media. So, no … I was not going to end up as the viral video of the day because I ticked off a gander. So I stepped back a few more paces, hoping to get some shots, but of course ever mindful of an angry gander lurking nearby.

First, I observed the Missus basking in the morning sun’s rays. I obviously didn’t pose a threat to her as she glanced over, then slowly her eyes dropped to half mast, then totally closed them as you see below.

There were very few ducks about, which was very strange for early in the morning. I usually see them preening or snoozing on the grass near the seawall early in the morning. I stepped onto the covered bridge and checked out the other side … no Papa Goose, so I moved on. However, when I got ready to go home, I glanced over and there he was, under the bridge. See … I knew he was not shirking his husband responsibilities of defending his mate. Aah – all is copasetic in the goose world.

Or, so it would seem.

Stand by your man.” (But with an asterisk.)

You may remember the country western song “Stand by Your Man” by Tammy Wynette. During the 1992 presidential race, Hillary Clinton raised the hackles of Tammy Wynette and others when she made the infamous remark “I’m not sitting here, some little woman standing by my man like Tammy Wynette” during a “60 Minutes” interview which raised the subject of presidential candidate Bill Clinton’s indiscretions. She later apologized for her comment.

Apparently Mama Goose was of a similar mindset as the former First Lady. It was all good as Papa Goose frolicked and bathed SOLO in Coan Lake, while she was plunked down on a bed of rocks with just a layer of nesting materials between her belly and those rocks. Ouch!

In fact this soon-to-be Mama was wistful … of course she would have liked a quick bath too, but there were eggs to be incubated, turned over every so often … sigh … a woman’s work is never done.

Then things got interesting

Another goose appeared on the scene. Through the camera lens I watched the interplay.

Note the long and intense stares, even goo-goo eyes – the body language between the two geese was incredible.

And though it is difficult to tell a male from a female Canada Goose, I’m no dummy. I was convinced this wasn’t just another “one of the boys” so I decided to hang out and enjoy this developing drama. Not only did it pique my interest but it did that of Mama Goose as well. She lifted a sleepy eye to likewise monitor the scene.

“Let’s explore underwater … who can dive the most?” this newcomer seemed to say. The gander rose to the occasion swooping down, shaking his neck and tail feathers with much fanfare.

Then he followed up those shenanigans with this impressive wing spread.

Wow – all that for the other goose. (Smile.) I am sure Mama Goose was rolling her eyes at the display, though my eyes did not dare sneak a glimpse from behind the lens, as I didn’t want to miss this drama and all the while I was clicking merrily away as the words began bubbling up in my brain for this Mother’s Day week blog post.

Since Papa Goose was um, er … occupied, I took the opportunity to grab a few shots of Mama from another angle, just about the time she decided she’d had enough. She shot a steely glance in the direction of her seemingly philandering mate, a/k/a “Mr. Charming Personality”

… Papa Goose knew that look meant business and that his brief dalliance was over. He hastily headed over to appease his mate. I say “hastily” because he didn’t even take the time to fly up onto the grass and pick his way over to her in the rocks … he flew right up onto the rocks instead to show his mate how much he cared!

Mama Goose shifted position and quickly resumed incubating the eggs with her mate hovering nearby.

Aah – domestic bliss had been restored.

The girlfriend, er … other goose was left behind …

To be truthful, nothing happened between the geese in the water … a little frolicking was all, though the pictures seem to tell a different story, don’t they? I took liberties at the expense of this gander, because in reality, the habits of Canada Geese are quite the opposite of how I have portrayed them in this post. Canada Geese are devoted to their mates, are monogamous and will stay with their mate for life. If one of the pair dies, most go into seclusion and remain solo the remainder of their lives. During the incubation period, which lasts from 28-30 days, there is usually a clutch of five to six eggs. The gander does not assist in the actual incubation process, but instead stands by to guard his mate and the nest from any predators. The female will not leave the nest to eat, drink or bathe during this time. The gander will fiercely guard his goslings once they have hatched.

What can I say to conclude this post except to use another popular meme saying: “happy wife, happy life.”

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
This entry was posted in nature, walk, walking and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

55 Responses to If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!

  1. Ain’t that the truth? 😉 Spring seems to arrive in different neighborhoods at different times — sorry you missed those blossoms. That’s a lovely series of pictures of mama goose falling asleep in the sunshine. I enjoyed the story of papa goose’s friendly “dalliance” — great pictures, Linda! Maybe we’ll be seeing the goslings soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Yes it was quite a surprise that the trees had already blossomed. They have quite a few Redbuds and Flowering Cherry which are just gorgeous. I’m glad you liked the post and Mama and Papa’s tale Barbara. I watched them through the lens for the longest time. Our goslings are late arriving at the Park – we usually see them by the last week of April. I’m looking forward to getting some photos of them. Fingers crossed. We had three sets last year.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. If only people were as dedicated to their partners as geese!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. peggy says:

    Nice post. You have captured some great pictures. I always enjoy sitting and watching the antics of geese. I too know you don’t mess with mama goose or papa goose.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thank you Peggy – glad you enjoyed it. The geese do have some funny antics that they do and I laugh when I see one goose in a bad mood going around “goosing” all the others! I steer clear of them when they cross the perimeter path at the Park for the most part. You can be far away and they start hissing and flapping their wings for no reason at all as you know.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Sandra J says:

    A perfect story to go along with the photos. I like that, it is so true, It is mothers day month, so he better be good. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. AnnMarie R stevens says:

    Miss Linda………………I’m laughing at the saying: “Happy wife . happy life”………………………..here at our apartment pond, we have seen the mama goose go off of her nest ever once in awhile to either eat or move around………………………….no other geese were allowed to ever have another goose nest here beside Mr. and Mrs. Meany’s nest!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Glad you liked that Ann Marie. I read a few stories about them in the past and knew the Mama does not generally leave the nest, but maybe since your pond is smaller the Mama feels more secure in going away for a change of pace. 🙂 I can’t imagine there would be any predators at Heritage Park, would you? But there are plenty of dogs being walked in the historical area.

      Like

  6. Dave says:

    “… and he landed with arms and legs ‘akimbo'”. Every now and then a word sounds exactly like what it means. Great word! Also, I watched the YouTube video of the young golfer and I’m just glad to know he was okay. That gander was in full-on attack mode; not the least bit afraid of a human. Good decision to keep your distance from this goose.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      I always liked that word “akimbo” too Dave. It beats saying “sprawled out” – last year I learned a new word that a fellow blogger shared with me. He saw a story of how animals “sploot” in the Summer when it is hot. They lay on their stomachs and stretch their legs out in front/back of them to cool off, especially in the grass. I did a post about squirrels “splooting” as I’ve seen it plenty of times and got a kick out of the word which is funnier than saying they are “frogging”.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Macaws too are monogamous and it is a sign of higher intelligence in birds. (More true to their mates than a lot of superficial people are in this world!) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Rebecca says:

    You got some beautiful photos! These birds can be quite temperamental. We had one chase my daughter at a park when she was little. Not much fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thanks Rebecca – glad you liked them. The tale kind of fell into place with the pictures and I had to smile watching the scene unfold in front of me. With kids, I can remember feeding the ducks and geese as a kid and sometimes they just get a notion to react and go after humans. Geese are never friendly and I will always go around them on the path, especially when they have their goslings in tow because then they will hiss and flap their wings at you if you even look at those babies.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. That was quite a story! A most enjoyable one!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. you documented a real story and told it beautifully Linda!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Joni says:

    What a story Linda and great shots! That gander was real show-off! When Mama Goose sits on the nest all those days, does he bring her food?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thank you Joni – glad you liked it. It was fun to watch and then write about. I am glad I checked back after walking around to see if the gander was nearby so I could see all this “action” going on. I understand from different articles I’ve read that the female does not leave the nest for any reason and the male does not sit on the eggs – I find it hard to believe though. How would he bring grass for her to eat? My friend Ann Marie lives in a large apartment complex – in the middle is a pond and they have geese, ducks, some heron too. She says she sees the nest unattended so the female does wander off. Terrible thing a few weeks ago at Ann Marie’s place. The female was not sitting on the nest and someone removed the eggs. The residents there complain about the geese who are very loud and hiss and flap their wings, plus all the poop. The geese were upset to return to the nest and no eggs. They were honking and flapping their wings for a few days. It wasn’t right to do that, though I’ll admit the geese are a pain at times.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        That was a cruel thing to do even if they are a pain. I wasn’t sure what exactly they ate….but I couldn’t see the going that long without food or drink?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I agree with you. Ann Marie was quite upset seeing what happened. She passes the pond every morning when she goes on her walk. She left and everything was okay – came home after the walk and the geese had flown to a low roof and were honking and flew down to where the nest was, clearly agitated. I can’t see them going without food/drink either to be honest, but I looked on a few websites to confirm it and here is one in the fifth paragraph down:
        https://www.geeserelief.com/geese-management/geese-breeding-season.html#:~:text=Canada%20geese%20lay%20between%20four,while%20the%20eggs%20are%20incubating

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        Laying one egg every day or two is strange too…..esp. if they all hatch at once?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        I thought that was strange too – how does she sit on the eggs as well as the hatchlings without smothering the hatchlings? Makes you wonder.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Joni says:

        Maybe they all hatch at once, and some are just preemies. Did you hear about that poor woman who just gave birth to nine babies?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Yes, that could be – I had looked at a few articles and they all seemed to suggest that was how the hatching/care happened. I did hear that story and they were only expecting septuplets and got nine … forgot the name for them. They said it was rare – I didn’t hear if she was seeing a fertility specialist or not. That story made the headlines, then I never heard about it again. I remember “Octomom” from a few years ago. I can’t imagine … having never had kids, thinking of dealing with nine babies blows my mind a little. My former boss had triplet girls:
        fraternal as two were identical and the other did not look like she was in the same family.
        I P.S. The mute swans’ necropsies came back and they were not poisoned – instead they were ingesting aquatic plant that had snails in the plants and the snails had a parasite and this is what killed the swans … seems strange they all died at the same time, but that is their official report. I was trying to edit and update a reply I did earlier and could not make it work, so adding it here. I don’t usually do comments in the morning, but we might have some bad weather this afternoon – storms and hail, but not considered severe weather.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. ruthsoaper says:

    Great story to go with the photos Linda. Can’t wait to see the goslings. Chickens rarely leave the nest during the brooding period. Every once in a while the will – three weeks is a long time not to eat, drink or poop.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Glad you liked the story Ruth. It was fun to see and then write about too. I’d like to go up there this weekend or next weekend as the goslings should be running around and at the cute-and-fuzzy stage. I’ve not seen any goslings at Council Point Park yet. We usually see them the end of April. I don’t know where they are hiding or not hatched yet. It seemed impossible she would not budge from the nest the entire time – but that nest was in a very open spot, so many they fear predators (including humans). Your chickens would have the nest in the coop though and you are giving them feed and water so likely they wouldn’t have a big need to forage so I could see the hens staying put.

      Like

  13. Laurie says:

    Hmmm…I’m not so sure about that gander. I think maybe Mama Goose may have a philanderer on her hands…er…wings. I wonder what would have happened if she hadn’t shot him a warning look. Great story, Linda. You were at the right place at the right time! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Glad you liked this story Laurie. I agree with you. Her mate was having too good of a time to come back and sit by her side. A pretty goose batting her eyelashes and looked what happened! I was lucky again, just like with the Mute Swans and the Canada Geese pair with their nest in the middle of the marsh.

      Like

  14. Delightful story and accompanying pictures, Linda! Canada geese can be quite aggressive. Keeping your distance was smart! I didn’t know that they are monogamous. Now we can hope that the goslings will soon hatch for another fun post.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. What a cute post Linda! It’s funny because I have seen so many geese in my lifetime but I don’t recall ever seeing them nesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. The seeming love triangle story was very entertaining!! I like your creative storytelling through pictures. It must take a long time to prepare these posts. Thanks for sharing your story!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Glad you liked it Esther. It was entertaining to watch and although no hanky panky was going on, it sure looked like something might have happened had Mama Goose not looked over in their direction. I wished I had a video to show this story, but in the end, since I took so many pictures, I was able to recreate what happened and yes … you are very correct; it does take a long time to create these posts, especially when they are picture laden.

      Like

      • Yes, I can imagine the time you invest into these kinds of posts. You make it look easy though.
        Even animals have relationship issues!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Linda Schaub says:

        Thank you Esther for recognizing that time to put them together. If only I did as diligent of a job on my housework. 🙂 Yes animals have their moments sometimes. Last time with the goose on a nest, the gander had a fit and went after another bird. My mom had a saying she used to say (when my father was out of earshot): “patience is a virtue, possess it if you can, always found in women, never found in men” – chuckle a little, then share it with Ellis.

        Like

  17. Btw, we also saw a nesting goose? I say it’s a duck but I’m not certain. We went back the next day to the same spot and found 1 egg. Hatching season!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      I never saw a nesting goose until this year and all these parks and walks I’ve taken … I’ve never seen an egg though. You lucked out Esther- did the kids like seeing the egg? Hope you get to see the hatchling too. Science au natural instead of from a book!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s