Wednesday, April 23, 2014

It Takes A Village To Raise A Gaggle of Goslings

  Today the most wonderful thing happened! I was at Lake Union when I saw a woman looking at the water. I thought she was just taking in the view of lake. But no, she was looking at something far more fabulous. As I got closer, I saw it! A gaggle of goslings with their moms and dads. They were floating in big group together.... long necked feathered creatures followed by a bunch of fuzzy darlings. My heart was melting!

I tried to be as non-threatening as possible as I followed/chased them along the lake while they floated. The way the adults would move their necks, it looked as if they were directing the young. Like traffic directors except with authoritative, pointing necks instead of arms. It looked as if three goose families combined to form one, large goose family. There were six grown geese and seventeen tiny geese! It takes a village to raise a brood of little geese.

 Floating along with the geese, but maybe ten or so feet removed, was a quacking mallard. I thought of him as the hired muscle, there to protect the little geese from eagles or crows. Or at least in his own duck mind that was what he was doing.Or maybe he was unsuccessful with mating attempts this year. When he saw all these baby geese and thought, "Hey, I'll just join that family!"

   I thought I had seen the last of the giant goose family. But then, an hour or so later, I found them on a grassy patch. They were all sleeping or finding insect snacks between blades of grass. Right across the grassy patch was a park bench. Between the bench and the grassy patch was only a sidewalk. I slowly crept to the bench and sat down. Luckily, none of the parent geese seemed perturbed by my presence or proximity. I know from past goose interactions how to tell when a goose is angry. They start by wiggling their head and neck around with mad abandon! Sometimes they hiss and honk, but usually only if you did not get the hint during the head wiggling.

 I sat on that bench with six geese and seventeen goslings practically surrounding me. The closest one must have been five feet away! It was really very amazing. I felt so lucky to be surrounded by so many baby geese at once. I just sat there and watched them for a while. They did all sorts of cute things. My favorite was when a baby goose would stand up from sleeping and run to join another section of the goose family. First, the baby would stand up. Then, he would stretch his tiny wings. The wings are sooo small. They look like little nubs. So with his outstretched nubs and neck reaching toward the sky, the baby goose would merrily trot across the grass.

There was one baby goose who would sleep in a particularly hilarious fashion. One of his legs would be tucked under his soft body, the other would be stretched out behind him. At one point, I also saw a gosling fight break out. Three baby geese all started bumping into each other in a manner that looked both aggressive and playful.

Surrounded by all these geese, I felt like the goose version of Jane Goodall. Soon, the geese woulds start seeing me as one of them. I'd be invited to float around the lake. Or to join them for an evening fly. It is a disguise that would be hard to maintain since I lack so many common place goose skills. But I needn't worry about the geese catching on, since they were never fooled. After about twenty minutes, the geese got up and walked away, and I, the obvious goose impostor, was left behind. But before they left, a man walked by and said, "Wow, this is pretty amazing, isn't it." And I heartily agreed!


Laurie Duncan said...

OH, my! They are sooo cute1 :)

Laurie Duncan said...

Oh, and bye the way! I just nominated your blog for a Shine On award:
It's fine if you don't want to participate, just wanted to share your blog! :)

Amber said...

Thanks so much Laurie! That is very sweet of you to think of my blog!