Father Goose always calls Mother Goose at feeding time. Like a proud father-to-be, he patiently waits for her to fly across the creek, leads her to the food and then diligently stands guard, protecting her, while she eats.
Their routine changes about three or four weeks before their eggs are due to hatch. Father Goose abandons my dock and begins to spend every minute with Mother Goose. He by and large stays in the water defending her nest and chasing away any goose who dares to come near. This spring he's discovered a new vantage point - a small boat tied at the dock alongside the nest. Both barely eat anything. I sometimes wonder how they survive. Mother Goose only gets off the nest once or twice a day to bathe in the creek for a few short minutes. She returns to the nest immediately.
When the babies hatch, usually sometime in early May, I so enjoy watching their little golden brown bodies scampering along the edge of the dock. When they are a day or two old, they are ready to tumble into the creek and have their first swim. This is the last I see of them for once Mother and Father Goose have their babies, they don’t come back onto my property until next year. I am certain this has something to do with the fact that the swans, who now have babies of their own to look after, spend a lot of time at the foot of my duck ramp and up on the dock in the sanctuary. Both Diablo and Sara Beth attack anything that comes even remotely near their babies.
My husband is not as fond of the geese as I am. Whenever he thinks I’m not looking, he always tries to chase Father Goose into the water. He paid dearly for his mistake! When I was rescuing Patches, I had to climb over Mother Goose’s nest, which I did very slowly and very carefully, fully expecting her to attack me. It was heartwarming to see just how much she trusted me as she allowed me to cross over her nest without so much as a ruffled feather. Not the case, however, for my husband - “The Goose Chaser” - who surely got his just desserts! The minute he tried to step over Mother Goose’s nest, Father Goose, who was watching from his vantage point across the creek, flew off my dock, in a rage, honking as loud as he could, attacking and dive-bombing my husband. Mother Goose and I had the last laugh! Who says geese don’t take care of their friends???
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