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I'm on a national register for geese

Thursday, February 4, 2010

I know it is no surprise for those of you who know me, to find out that I am on a goose register. But I'll bet even you didn't think I would go national

For some reason, in this cold season, our farm pond or lawn side lake (the same place, it depends on who I am trying to impress what I call it!) has become a haven for many geese. Our resident couple had returned about two weeks ago to stake out their claim on our elevated nest. Occasionally a few other geese would drop by, but "our" couple didn't even let them get anywhere near the nest.

Suddenly one morning we looked out and there were 60 or 70 geese swimming around in the pond. We assumed they were just taking a rest from their travels. The next day there were twice as many, and when it began to snow the number increased to over 200 by our count.

On Saturday when we woke up the geese were clustered in two or three sections of the pond. Our daughter Shirley noticed that one of them that was in the shallow water near the lawn had something around his neck. We worried that he might have gotten his neck caught in an aluminum soft drink can, or a plastic tubular container for something like yogurt.

After using our binoculars she decided that there were white letters and numbers on the green neckband. That made us think it probably was something put on the gander by the Conservation Commission, so we kept looking until we could get the information.

I called the Conservation Commission office in El Dorado Springs to see if this was something they needed to know. The agent was happy to talk to me and said he was going to do some research to find what the numbers and letters meant. Later he called back and said he was referring me to the National Register for Canada Geese and they would contact me to tell me where the goose was banded and any other places that he has been recorded.

Now we are eager to know if we have a resident from Canada or merely an offspring from Schell City. Either way it will be fun to know. He certainly has a lot of friends. On Saturday when the pond began to freeze over again they kept the water riled up in areas so that it didn't freeze. Then they would get up on the ice and stand on one foot for a while and then get in the sleeping position with the head back against their body. The ice would weaken under the body heat so they would move to another nearby spot and soon have an area melted enough to provide open water.

All this time we stood in a heated room and watched them in the icy water. We celebrated the fact that we are not geese.

Our own couple has given up trying to keep the others away from the nest because there are just too many to worry about. However, we can tell that they are still staying close by. Whenever there is any action by any of us humans all of the geese will retreat to the far side of the pond except for two who calmly continue with what they were doing. Even the visiting family dogs don't keep them from their future home.

We are enjoying our few days of being a goose sanctuary in this cold weather, but we will be unhappy if they don't fly away when it gets warmer. I know two geese who will also be happy to honk good-bye to their distant cousins.

Carolyn Gray Thornton
Middle Age Plus