Honk-Garonk-Honk-Honk-Garonk. Yikes! The Canada geese are back. It’s early in the season for them to be scoping out nesting sites, but the winter has been so mild here that they are probably confused. I saw 2 geese spiraling in for a landing on our pond, but then heard a ruckus. I had just stepped outside with my Goldendoodle puppy, Baylie, so we took a stroll down to the pond to see what was going on. Apparently there was already one pair swimming around when the 2nd pair came in for a landing, so a quarrel ensued. The pup and I headed on down, she, apprehensive about all the strange noises, I, hoping to shoo them away.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the geese—-when they are anywhere but on our pond. Three years ago, we had a pair build a nest on our island in the pond. We were pretty excited about it at the time. I did a lot of research on the mating behaviors of Canada Geese, and I started my first blog to chronicle the growth of the little family. If you are interested in reading more about our goose encounters, here is a link to my Twin Creeks Gooses blog. (It is in typical blog format, so to read it chronologically, you need to start at the bottom and read up)
I have a lot of respect and admiration for the geese. I particularly enjoyed this article
Lessons We Learn From Geese
Fact 1: As each goose flaps its wings it creates an “uplift” for the birds that follow. By flying in a chevron or “V” formation, the whole flock adds 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew alone.
Lesson: People who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they are going quicker and easier because they are traveling on the thrust of one another.
Fact 2: When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of flying alone. It quickly moves back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front of it.
Lesson: If we have as much sense as a goose we stay in formation with those headed where we want to go. We are willing to accept their help and give our help to others.
Fact 3: When the lead goose tires, it rotates back into the formation and another goose flies to the point position.
Lesson: It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership. As with geese, people are interdependent on each other’s skills, capabilities and unique arrangements of gifts, talents or resources.
Fact 4: The geese flying in formation honk to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.
Lesson: We need to make sure honking is encouraging. In groups where there is encouragement the production is much greater. The power of encouragement (to stand by one’s heart or core values and encourage the heart and core of others) is the quality of honking we seek.
Fact 5: When a goose gets sick, wounded, or shot down, two geese drop out of formation and follow it down to help and protect it. They stay with it until it dies or is able to fly again. Then, they launch out with another formation or catch up with the flock.
Lesson: If we have as much sense as geese, we will stand by each other in difficult times as well as when we are strong.
One other fact not mentioned here, is that geese poop—a lot. I read somewhere that an adult goose can poop upwards of 1 ½ pounds per day. Most of it went into the pond, and the spring following the hatching of 3 goslings, our pond was beset with algae. We spent all summer treating the water and scooping algae around the banks. As much as we enjoyed our feathered tenants, we vowed that we would do what we could to humanely discourage them from coming back the following year.
We don’t have a particularly favorable location for geese, thankfully. The pond is small, ½ acre, and is nestled in a forested area, with trees surrounding the pond. The geese seem to like it because it is protected and there is a small island, but they have a really steep ascent to get airborne and clear the tops of the trees. Geese are heavy birds, and seem to need a fairly long, clear runway to get aloft. So we don’t have visitors during most of the year. The geese only come in at nesting time.
The following spring, starting in late February, a couple of pair of geese would make daily stopovers, scoping out the suitability of the digs. We didn’t want to make them feel welcome. We had good success that first year with a pair of coyote decoys. When the decoys lost their effectiveness, we used a pen laser to flash a beam across their bodies. I read about this online when I was doing research on goose deterrents. Golf courses and small airfields are using powerful laser pointers to move geese off of the property. It does work, but we have to be within 100 feet with our pointer to be effective.
Well, we’ve got one coyote in place. We are still trying to locate the furry tail and ground stake for our 2nd Wiley Coyote. Now that the geese have arrived, we have incentive to clean the garage and find that missing tail.