Saturday, June 4, 2011

Lost Gosling on Pine Island, Wascana Lake

Pair of Canada geese, seen through spring blossoms
Pair of geese — parents of 4 (or is that 5?) goslings. © SB
When I first saw the geese, they looked to be alone.

Then the female stood up and four yellow-green goslings ran out from under her wings.

Champions of camouflage, down feathers melting into short new grass.

The goslings ran beside their parents, pecking for food on the edge of Pine Island, a slice of land so insignificant in size, I never knew it had a name until I searched a map for another name.)

A family walked down to the water — a man with a stroller, and a child running beside them.

I pointed to the goslings.

"There's another," the man said. "She's taking its picture." And he gestured back towards a women, maybe his wife, on the other side of the island.

Pair of Canada geese, with four goslings
Geese with four green-grass goslings © SB

Yes, this island in Wascana Lake is small by human-scale perspective, but even though I know that birds and animals have different perceptions, from one end to the other still seemed an impossible gap for a recently hatched, still fluffy gold-green gosling.

It can't be from the same family, I thought, walking to the bridge to go back to my van. It must be with another pair.

And then, I saw it, alone on the wood-chip-covered path, cheeping softly, almost inaudibly.

It ran after another pair of geese, but they had older goslings, one of which ran up to the chick and batted at its head.

For a few minutes, the tiny gosling lay down on the road, pecking at dirt and bark. It was chilly by the lake; my fingers were red and cold, and I started to wonder what might happen if the bird did not find warmth. 

tiny gosling, alone on the road
Alone on the road. © SB
Then an adult goose appeared at the top of the rise, up from the slope where the other pair had been feeding with their four goslings. The goose waited. The gosling hopped closer, until they were side by side, and then it ran down the hill to join the other four identically sized and coloured goslings.

When I left, the seven — two adult geese and their five goslings — were patrolling the edges of the island.

The wild will find their way. (At least, sometimes, it feels reassuring to believe that.) 

Canada goose with five young goslings
One of the geese, now with all five goslings,  © SB

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