Something Fishy

Something Fishy
t Doesn't Get Much Better

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

White goose soap opera returns

By Phil Junker
For the second spring, the mystery of the white goose continues.
Last spring, I began watching a mysterious nature happening on the lake behind the house. It has all the drama of a TV reality show. (Well, not as crazy or Jersey Shore).
Every spring for the past several years, I’ve watched the annual ritual of Canada geese raising their young. In late winter or very early spring. the local flocks of geese begin to break into pairs. They mate for life.
Next comes nesting season. Soon the cute, fuzzy baby goslings begin to appear with the protective Mom and Dad. When they take to the water in the lake behind the house, one adult leads the procession and one follows with the youngsters trailing the lead goose in a straight line. There usually are six to eight babies.
Over the course of the next month or so, some of the youngsters grow rapidly. Others just disappear, apparently falling victim to turtles, dogs, coyotes, and other animals. That’s nature.
Early last year, when the adult geese broke up into pairs, something unusual happened. Daily, I began to see a threesome, and what made it even more unusual, one member of the trio was a snow white goose.   
My assumption is the white goose is a domestic goose that came from somewhere in the local area, and was accepted by the flock. It appears to be the same size as the rest of the Canadas. It has a yellow orange beak, and I’d guess it is not an albino. My guess may be wrong.
The trio hatched a half dozen youngsters, and all looked like the rest of the Canada babies on the lake. There was no evidence of the white goose’s coloration in the goslings.
For a while the three adults swam with the youngsters. Then one day, one of the adult Canadas was no longer with the family. One Canada and the white goose finished raising the young, 
The young grew to adult size and the pairs and youngsters rejoined as a flock. The white goose seemed to be a full-fledged member.
I’m left to ponder, where did the white goose come from, is it an albino, why was it accepted by the pair, did it mate with a Canada, what happened to the third adult.
But then late last summer or early fall, the white goose suddenly disappeared. At least I didn’t see it before cold weather arrived.
But much to my surprise, the white goose is back with two adult Canadas and about six youngsters--now almost fully grown.
Don’t think this mystery ever will be solved, but it has been fascinating and enjoyable watching it unfold. At least for now, he (or 

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