My winter frozen limbs begin to thaw at the sound. The Canadian geese migration, with familiar goose honking overhead, signals that spring is springing in Canada. Months later than many other parts of the world the appearance of the first Canada goose gosling signals winter’s defeat.
Estimates suggest five to seven million of the species of the Canada goose migrate seasonally throughout North America. Apparently the job of counting Canadian geese does not require accuracy. A couple of million geese here or there is of little matter.
The Canada goose loves to travel. Frequently gallivanting in the UK, parts of Europe and even in New Zealand, Canadian geese are clearly on the go. How do they manage that kind of journey? As stowaways on the Queen Mary Cruise ship?
“Excuse me please I am a Canadian goose and as part of the Commonwealth I believe I deserve safe passage.”
Back to our tale of the missing Canada goose gosling. Most years when the Canada goose contingent arrives on the Calgary riverbanks we all play nicely together. The geese share the pathway with runners and cyclists, although leave their droppings like a goose poop obstacle course.
In past years the goose mood changes sharply when the yellow, fluff balls of baby geese appear on the Calgary river bank.
Initial sightings of the Canada goose gosling gang leaves runners and cyclists heart-warmed at the sight. However Mama and Papa Canada goose, with six foot wing spans, become the defenders of all things goose like.
This includes the river, its banks and a ten foot berth on either side of said goose and particularly the fuzzy, yellow goslings. Nothing like a runner, or worse a cyclist, to get the protective geese in a kerfuffled state of alarm.
Honking is replaced by hissing. ‘Lunge for a Kneecap’ is a happy Canada goose game to play. Well happy for the goose anyway. The passers by not so much.
Cyclists and runners attempt to keep their lower limbs free of sharp goose beaks and flapping, goose wings.
Has Canada Goose parenting gone down the river?
This spring the Canadian geese of Calgary appear to be ingesting some grass with relaxation properties. I don’t think they are smoking it but I will double check. Canada is about to legalize marijuana so perhaps the geese are having a head start.
While the yellow Canada goose goslings arrive in massive numbers, the chilled out goose parents seem to care less if passers by come close to their brood. The little goslings wander over as if posing for their photo.
After years of hissing and honking I do my best to keep a respectful distance. You can never be too sure when a kneecap may become a goose target.
In the past days, as the snow melts in the Rocky Mountains west of Calgary, the Bow river begins to rise. Small islands, once nesting sites of the Canada goose families, now lay underwater. Cringing memories of Calgary’s terrible flood come crashing to mind.
The adult geese remain silent with no hissing, honking or knee cap lunging.
Sadly not a single Canada goose gosling is visible. Where a pair of adult geese once leisurely pecked riverbank grass with 21 youngsters, only water remains.
Am I overly naive thinking the goslings are tucked away safely on higher ground? Or did the Canada geese lose their parenting skills in migration?