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  • Betty Girardeau

Just a Little After Dinner Walk With The Children


Living as I do near a very large lake and a couple of small ponds, it is not surprising that Canada geese like to take up residence in my neighborhood, too. They are messy and quite noisy birds, and for those here that like to play golf, they are a pest. This time of year, because they have young, there seems to be even more of them around. In fact, the other morning I just happened to look out when there were several golfers trying to sink their balls at hole number two, which I can easily see from my dining room windows. There were at least four golfers and just as many geese. The geese were just ambling around the edge of the green totally oblivious of the golfers. It was very entertaining to stand there and watch the golfers as they tried to play around the geese. I regularly see them, especially late in the afternoon and in the evenings. There they are, mom, dad, and the kids. It's fun to watch the adults shepherding their little ones, teaching them to find food and to swim with the group. The chicks above that I spied last night during my walk are the youngest that I have seen so far this year. I have already seen several other "families" with older children. The parents are usually very protective. If they sense that approaching humans could be a threat, there will be one of two geese that start to honk a warning, and they will begin to move more quickly, urging their young toward the pond or lake. I love watching the little ones grow and develop from tiny chicks to adolescents. The older they get, the more independent they appear. And, in the larger broods, there always seems to be at least one who doesn't want to follow the rules their parents have set down. They may wander away from the flock, doing their own thing, much like our human children often do. When they are out swimming on the lake or pond, and first bonding as a family unit, there is one adult in the lead, followed by the young, with the other adult following in the rear to monitor the young. As the chicks mature, this pattern gradually changes and the adults will be in the lead, followed by the children. Watching this pattern of parenting, it is not surprising to learn that Canada geese are monogamous. I love watching these families each spring. They are wonderful examples to us humans about strong marriages and good parenting.

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