The Canadians – Their Story Continues

Anyone who has followed me for a few  years knows of the Canada Goose family that lives on the pond. We’ve watched them grow, learn to fly, and then fly away since our first summer here. Over the years, we’ve become friends with the little families, frequently stopping at the edge of the pond to share seeds with them. It got to the point that a couple of years ago, one of the pairs brought their newborn twins, whom we called Spike and The Princess, to meet us at the edge of the pond. Only Spike survived to fly away that summer. I knew it was him because of the way his head feathers went spiky whenever he got them wet. The Princess’ head feathers, on the other hand, were always perfect.

A week old, Spike and the Princess.

Last year, there were five little guys, and we cheered!  Within a few days, one of the parents and one of the babies was gone, leaving Papa to care for four little bundles of down.  By the next day, they were gone, too.  A fox lives in the area and lurks in some bushes by the edge of the pond, where it’s easiest for the babies to get out of the water.  Add to that the Hooded Crows and Ravens, not to mention the Buzzards and other birds of prey, and keeping the little ones safe becomes a challenge.  We were devastated at this loss and we missed them terribly last year.

I have hesitated to write about this year’s Canada Geese. I’ve been watching them for about eight weeks now. I couldn’t bear the thought of making another post like last year’s. However, it’s been an interesting year. And there are goslings again. Five of them … well, four … one was lost last week. It’s time to update you on this year’s drama.

When the pair appeared back in March, we were very relieved as we hadn’t been sure we would have Canada Geese here after last year’s tragedy. “The Canadians are back!” came the joyful cry from the lounge window. However, there was an interesting difference to previous years for with them was a solitary young male, probably from a previous year’s family as they often return to the pond they were born on. I took to calling them Mama, Alpha Goose and Brother. That soon changed to Alice, Ralph and Norton, respectively.

Alice in front, Norton to the left sneaking in while eating. Ralph stands tall in the back.

Now, Norton never fully interfered with Alice (that I know of), but he was there and Ralph wasn’t having any of it. Click on the first photo of each gallery to follow the sequence of events.

Every time Alice turned toward Norton, Ralph would have a fit. He would go after Norton, chasing him off with massive wings powerfully raised and threatening. Norton would rear up and run, his wings also wide and powerful.

Alice would stay out of it unless it came too close, at which point she would, herself, rear with wings open. This went on for about a week and then seemed to calm down to periodic reminders of ‘not too close’. The next set of photos follows on from the last set. It was a bit unclear who started what, but my first clue was as I took the photo of Norton reacting to the Raven. While I took that poto, Ralph saw Norton approaching Alice. I think the goose on the left may be Alice going at Norton, but I’m can’t say with any certainty.

The captions on those photos is the sequence of events as best as I can tell. The pairing had been spoken for, however it happened. At least, it had by Ralph. Alice may have had a completely different message in mind. The photos in the next gallery continue on from the last.

For the longest time, it was the three of them. Ralph would tolerate Norton eating not far away for a time, then Alice would look or wander in Norton’s direction and Ralph would drive him off.  Norton would turn and walk away, looking lonely and sad. Honestly, I felt so sorry for him being isolated like that. In the meantime, Alice, would be treated to a tirade of epic proportions by Ralph. She would just look at him and keep eating, and walking and eating. This is, by the way, the reason we named them for that wonderful couple on ‘The Honeymooners’, Ralph and Alice Cramden.

Norton.
Alice and Ralph in the evening sun.

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