Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Greetings! (column reprint)

Hello Fellow Canada Geese Lovers! Greetings from Bon Bon Acres, Stillwater Minnesota’s official Honky Tonk. Located just a few miles west of the scenic St. Croix River and situated on 13 acres, my hobby farm/wildlife refuge includes a body of water. Bon Bon Pond is proud to provide a safe and hospitable habitat for many species of waterfowl including ducks, egrets, green herons, and, of course, the majestic Canada Goose.

Each year one pair of Canada Geese nests on the pond and raises their young. This year I was privileged to watch two goslings grow from yellow balls of fluff into elegant and graceful tuxedos.

In August, after the molt, their extended family from area lakes and ponds will often come to visit and enjoy the cracked corn that is always available. This is when the fun really begins! This season a gaggle of 42 gathers almost daily, and with them, an equally large sord of Mallards.

Often times I stop working and just sit with the geese and observe their interaction with each other, as well as with the ducks who seem to look up to them. Each day when the smaller flocks of geese fly in they go thru the same noisy pecking order ritual. But while they peck and pinch and chase each other, they are always kind and patient and paternal toward the ducks.

A couple weeks ago, I witnessed the most amazing and entertaining interspecies display! This might sound crazy but I know what I saw and believe my interpretation is correct. One morning two young Mallards put on some sort of competition/sporting event for the geese. In what could best be described as “Animal Olympics” one duck swam to one side, the second duck to the other side, then they engaged in a wild display of diving and racing around. They would charge toward each other, then swim back to their respective starting point. After each demonstration the geese would shake their heads and necks and make noises. The geese were "judging" the competition. When it was over, the “athletes” took a celebratory lap around the “sporting arena” then climbed up on their favorite log for some well-deserved R & R. What a wonderful show of good fun and camaraderie among animal “neighbors.” 

Every day is an adventure at Bon Bon Acres. There is so much we can learn from the wildlife, if we just pay close attention. I look forward to sharing more of my “wild goose tales” with you regularly. Next time, protecting Bon Bon Pond from hunters—a success story!

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