It has been a while since I regaled you with tales of the Canada Geese I see every day at Council Point Park and/or at larger park venues.
That is because Summertime is molting season for these geese, so they are congregating en masse in park venues with large bodies of water, in the event of land predators lurking about.
The Canada Geese have been missing from Council Point Park since the end of May. I always know their departure is imminent after the adults’ large feathers begin appearing in the grass and pathways. These are their primary or flight feathers and soon thereafter, the geese and their goslings are gone until around Labor Day. Our Council Point Park geese make their exit via the Ecorse Creek for just a quick one-mile trip to the Detroit River at Dingell Park. You can see how the feathers are sparse and a little funky-looking here.
Truth be told, I kind of miss them and their bossiness and histrionics. Even the kids, er … goslings, have issues and attitudes and do their fair share of hissing and wing-flapping at us humans by the time the family departs for their annual sojourn to the River to await their new plumage.
In Summer ’22, an exception occurred as to that River Summer Vacay.
I’ve been walking the pathways at Council Point Park for almost a decade. Once the geese depart, they’re gone for three months. Recently, I was spreading peanuts and seeds under the pavilion roof and chattin’ it up with Parker, who scampered over to feast, (completely bypassing any niceties like begging or nuzzling the toes of my walking shoes), so I was chastising him for his bad manners. A woman was sitting on a nearby picnic table and said “so you’re the person who leaves those mounds of sunflower seeds and peanuts.” “Yes, I’m the Snack Angel” I said, while raising my hand in the air.
I learned she had recently started walking at Council Point Park. She told me “it is so peaceful here. This morning there was a huge group of geese on that cement ledge on the other side.” I admit I was a bit dumbfounded by that statement and said “this morning, really?” She said “yes, I took a picture – I’ll show you” and before I could say “oh, I believe you, I’m just surprised” her phone was out of her pocket and she showed me the photo. I told her I was incredulous as “our” geese are always MIA from this venue June through August and I’ve never seen them here once they depart for the River.
Query: did the geese miss the ducks and turtles, or maybe the squirrels and songbirds? Or the walkers?
By the time I passed that ledge, they were gone. Strange times we live in, even in the critter world.
A gathering of the clan – so where do all the geese go anyway?
In the Summer months, I like slipping down to Dingell Park to watch the freighters and stroll the long boardwalk. That boardwalk eventually dead-ends at a secluded and fenced-in area where boats fuel up. I found a group of geese, no doubt some refugees from Council Point Park. They were busy picking at their feathers.
I was as quiet as possible, but a “lookout goose” spotted me and became anxious and alerted the others. Soon that group paddled out to join a cluster of about 50 geese who were congregating, a safe distance from land. I guess the collective mindset was I was deemed a potential predator, causing each goose to vamoose. They were quite far from shore, so they looked very small. I omitted those photos of them bobbing around as they looked like specks in the water.
It might be like your kin’s annual family reunion … even more so when you see some squabbling going on. Be sure to note the adults’ necks lowered to the surface of the water, (that happens before the hissing begins), plus the gosling is flapping its tiny wings. Canada Geese are definitely drama queens sometimes.
So now that Your Roving Reporter has caught you up on the who, what, when, where, why and how of our feathered friends’ Summer holiday, I have a few photos to share about what the geese are doing on land at Elizabeth Park.
Elizabeth Park is a year-round haven for Canada Geese.
If you like these attractive-looking geese, so named because the Latin species name, canadensis, translates to meaning “of Canada” (though folklore tells us these geese were named for John Canada who discovered the species), then you will enjoy some of the goose family photos and scenarios I have rounded up for you from my visit to that venue over Memorial Day weekend.
The massive population of geese at Elizabeth Park continues to grow in leaps and bounds every Spring. If you have an urge to photograph some goslings, just visit in May and June and you are sure to find some, like these cutie pies I found along the boardwalk.
The parents were nearby lest I try to abscond with one of their darlings.
You’ve heard of a traffic jam – this is a goose jam.
Elizabeth Park is a man-made island, separated from the mainland by a vehicular bridge that crosses the canal. You enter and exit on the one and only road that runs the perimeter of the park. There is a speed limit as there are walkers, with or without pooches, bikers, rollerbladers … and geese, lots of geese. In fact, if you have to be somewhere and exit the park timely, be sure to arrive at your car in plenty of time to allow for goose traffic.
Also, prepare for long hold-ups because sometimes our feathered friends are a wee bit conflicted.
At the time I was walking, not driving, so I had a good opportunity to watch and photograph the antics.
Please don’t feed the geese!
Tossing a few peanuts to the begging squirrels is A-OK, but tossing food to the geese is a no-no in this park. There are signs everywhere, like here at the canal.
But, who can resist the sweet goslings when they toddle after their parents and look you in the eye? Some people bring along bread to toss to them anyway. A gaggle of geese and just a few crumbs of bread is not the equation for a happy situation for everyone as you will see below.
It’s been a fun year for documenting Canada Geese with photos and accompanying narratives, beginning with the goose eggs I discovered on Easter Sunday. Next week’s trek will be about Mallards at picturesque Heritage Park.