Tag Archives: goslings

Geese Are Grazing In My Yard

Geese in front yard.jpg1

(Image from last summer but you get the idea)

Barnyard geese grow fussy and restless this time of year. The gaggle are in search of nesting sites and busy bringing about the goslings who will soon scuttle behind their parents. I read our variety of geese are called Pilgrim, because their coloring resembles the drab garb of those early folk to America’s shores, not because they date back that far. I used to think they did. Duh on me. This American breed was developed in the early 1900’s. They are termed friendly and called good parents by one site who sells the fuzzy goslings. I beg to differ. While it’s true these are not ‘attack geese’ I must point out that they hate me and run fast and far, so I must sneak up in them to get pics or use a telephoto lens.

Gray Geese sitting on eggs

(Nesting Geese in the barn)

As for their parenting, I would add, ‘When they remember.’ They tend to misplace their offspring and forget where they put them. It’s not unusual to discover a peeping gosling in great distress because it was left behind. I’ve retrieved and returned these babies more than once. But the adults lose a certain number every year. If they didn’t, the gaggle would be far larger. They roam about the farm, my yard, and the meadow. While they love swimming on the pond–now empty as it will soon be dug out and deepened–they are content with puddles, the cow’s watering trough, and ample grass. They also glean corn from grain the cows spill as they eat. We never feed the geese anything. They are free ranging. I’ve tried tossing grain their way to make friends with the ‘Beth haters’ but they just think I’m throwing stuff at them and run faster.

Geese and goslings

Sigh. I continue to try and befriend them but they are a ornery suspicious lot. Still, I’m fond of the cantankerous critters and protect them more than they know. So don’t ask if you can buy some to eat, and people do. The answer is NO! I am their defender whether they like me or not.

It Isn’t Spring Without Goslings–Beth Trissel

bluebells and jonquils2Mother Natures takes a long winter’s nap, and then Bang! Wakes up and there are a million things to do, especially if you’re a gardener. And I am. I have the aching back and carpel tunnel flare up to prove it. But my flowers, herbs, and vegetables beckon and the call of birds floats through the window like a siren song. Every living creature is busily about the business of spring. I can hardly bear to be indoors on these gorgeous days,  so keep looking out the window, promising myself I can go back outside soon if I rest my hand awhile. Or dart back out anyway. (Image of daffodils and Virginia Bluebells in my yard.)

Old red barn April 2011 243Yesterday, I saw three goslings with their mama, papa, aunties, and uncles waddling past the white flowering pear trees up by the old red barn. But they escaped before anyone got a picture. Later in the afternoon, daughter Elise, my three year old grandbaby Owen, and I walked all over the farm beneath a sparkling blue sky seeking the goslings. We never did find them. Then today, I spotted the trio and their family foraging in the flower bed along the road. Not a safe place to be, so I raced out to shoo them away. A friend tried to take pics, but they fled in a frenzy of honks. Geese are fussy at best and especially protective of babies. Dennis caught up with them in the meadow. He also got some pics of a pair of gray geese nesting in the barn. They were not happy. The zoom feature on his camera is handy to have as geese will pinch you hard if provoked. Getting anywhere near their nest is against the rules.

Geese and goslingsAn Excerpt from my nonfiction book about Gardening and Country Life, Shenandoah Watercolors:

“Our meadow is as lush as I’ve ever seen it. Thick grass, reaching past my knees, spreads in a green swathe from fence row to fence row and sparkles with bright gold dandelions and buttercups. The elusive meadowlark, my favorite songbird, trills sweetly from some secret place hidden in the green. Rarely, I catch a magical flash of yellow as it flies, just before it tucks down again. Sandy brown killdeer dart around the edges of the pond on their long legs, sounding that wild funny cry peculiar to them.

???????????????????????????????The green-blue water that fills the banks of the pond now had dried to a painful parched puddle last summer. Migrating mallards and ruddy ducks ripple over the surface, bobbing bottoms up, and fill the air with busy gossipy quacks, content and happy creatures. Not so the plump gray and white barnyard geese. Their honking clash and chatter punctuates life on the farm, more or less, depending on their current level of hysteria.

Gray Geese sitting on eggsSome of the geese have been here for ages, waddling about with their broken useless wings, reminding me of nervous old ladies who can’t find their glasses and are forever misplacing their grandchildren. Even well-intentioned geese are extremely absentminded. More than once we’ve had to rescue a frantic gosling inadvertently left behind by its addled elders in a hole wallowed by the cows. Silly, silly geese. I scold the dogs when they’re tempted to chase and annoy them. Too easy, and it doesn’t seem fair.”

Images of our geese and the babies. Old red barn above.

Goslings and three geese