I am an amateur ornithologist. I adore birds of all kinds. Their flight patterns and markings intrigue me. My spirit feels a rush of joy while watching the majestic wingspans of the larger birds, as they fly overhead, gliding through the air as if the wind loves them as much as I do.
These birds are fierce protectors. They are brave, bold and possess the attitude of royalty. They wear like a mantle as they swagger around their territory. They stand their ground no matter what. No one comes between the fearless female and her chicks.
Which bird do you think I’m talking about? Many will feel I am referring to the Bald Eagle, symbol of our Nation. Its wings spread wide in an attack, screeching as it flies with talons at the ready. Or perhaps you think it’s the other contender to be our National bird, the Turkey. Sadly, it’s neither. It’s the Canada goose!
Canada geese will fight your car if they feel you are treading on their turf. These stunning birds, dressed in the colors of Autumn;their black, white, and brown giving the air of wearing formal attire to attract mates. Males and females are the same coloration, with the female slightly smaller than the male.
When they fly, the black marking on their face with the white chin strap gives them the look of a WWII fighter pilot. Debonair beyond compare.
Their fuzzy chicks adorably waddle after the parents in single file from river to bank. I am enamored with these babies from the time they are tiny goslings (page29), through to adolescence. Their fluffy little bums make me squeal with joy, much to my husband and dogs’ chagrin.
Make the mistake of trying to interfere with a chick or feed one of these birds, which is against the law in our town, and you will find out exactly how powerful a beak or wing can be. Mama and Papa Goose may strut away with part of your clothing in their beak.
Canada geese thrive at Highland Community College – a local college in Freeport – and also at Krape Park. When I was in school for NailTechnology, the geese hung out between the Technology building and the YMCA. One mated pair of Canada geese made themselves at home on and around the YMCA building.
The male took post on the roof as sentinel while the female charged anybody attempting to enter the YMCA building. People had to run past them acting as human decoys to distract the female in order for someone else to get into the building. We learned a very important lesson: Do not anger the geese lest you be goosed!
Canada Geese mate for life. When I hear that a hunter has killed a Canada goose I always wonder about the mate. What will happen to that bird? Will they wither and die from loneliness? My heart breaks to think of the mate’s mournful cries going unanswered.
I have seen one mate standing next to the body of another that was hit by a passing car. Its dedication became its undoing, as it was subsequently killed by a car in the same spot as its mate.
My husband does not understand my love for these birds. When I take pictures of the geese, I often say, “Stay back! No bite!” Unfortunately, they don’t listen much.
When the geese leave in the fall, a pall falls over the area, and the waters are silent. It’s as if the rivers and lakes are saying goodbye until spring.
Why do I love these birds so? They remind me of me!
With fall months away currently, there are nests to watch and goslings to photograph. Hopefully, Canadian Mother Goose will not decide to take a chunk out of my hide for doing so.
Need more positivity in your life? Check out these other “favorite things” and positivity corner pieces from MockingOwl Roost contributors and staff.
- My Favorite Things: Storm Season
- My Favorite Things: A Christmas Carol
- My Favorite Things: Quokkas
- Positivity Corner: Waterfall Bathing in Prony Bay, New Caledonia
- Positivity Corner: Morning Tea on the Patio
Sue Cook lives in Freeport, Illinois with her husband Randy and two dogs. Her passions include assistance dogs, rescue dogs, music, acting, theater, poetry, and Doctor Who. She’s been in both film and theater and is a regular cast member of the podcast Doctor Who’s Line is it….Anyway? Sue is an advocate for the use of Service Dogs to assist their disabled handlers to maintain their independence. Quigley’s Quest, her first children’s book, addresses how a dog becomes a Service Dog.