Sunday, August 19, 2007

Not So Goosey

I have shamefully neglected my Chronicles so far this summer. I will try to catch up with goings on here on the lake.

A while back, as you may recall, I had fallen on some financial straits and as a cost cutting measure reduced then stopped feeding the geese whose numbers had grown quite large. Having so many geese padding around on the lawn led to a severe shortage of grass. With the rain things got muddy. This year I actually have some grass out back along with the usual variety of lawn greens. However as a consequence, the geese rarely stop by now. Someone on the other side of the bridge on the far shore has taken up where I left off and goose loyalty is not really a part of their lifestyle. Oh yeah, every so often they stop by with their huge families but for the most part, they hang out at the other place.

Now things seem to be just ducky. I have learned that not only are ducks pushy and noisy, they also are pretty loyal whether you feed them regularly or not. Ducks here are varied but mostly Mallards or some similar type. One of the drakes I named Malcom, has a bum leg, a birth defect and at least one of his yearly offspring has the same defect. Their one leg is stiff and slightly shorter than the other resulting in a prominent limp. They do just fine.

Ducks have large families. Once the eggs are laid and hatched, the drakes take a hike leaving the rearing to the ducks. It is not unusual to see a mother with 13 babies in tow. Make no mistake about the ducklings. They run like the wind from the first and catching them is a chore if indeed one has to catch one. They trot along behind mom in a row. The mother duck defends them with life and limb. One time when a small one managed to maneuver itself under the fence and onto the patio, the mother went berserk quacking and flapping frantically. Nothing would do than my catching said duckling and returning it to the family. Once I finally caught the duckling, mom exploded into a karate fling of her wings and feet, nipping and flapping to injure. It all turned out well, but I must say being attacked by a duck rivals being attacked by a goose.

Oklahoma has had more rain in July than we usually get all year so the lake is up and is simply lovely with the gracefully swimming waterfowl. I must mention that the lake also contains big snapping turtles and some various snakes to boot. On July 4th, we had rather cool temperature but when the sun finally came out everyone was in the swimming mood. Because of all the lightening and rain, the complex delayed opening the pool until later in the summer. This did not deter some young girls from wading into the lake. No one got bitten, and since it was chilly they came out pretty quickly. I was holding my breath for them as their parents were nowhere in sight. It is forbidden to swim here in the lake but they did anyway and are very lucky young girls.

Life has been pretty tame so far this summer. Except for the remnants of Hurricane Erin rolling into Oklahoma as a tropical storm, calm prevails.

Until next time.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Then There Were....

The picture is certainly not a goose but it is one of the many birds that visits nightly since the first day of spring. And he/she has a repertoire of bird calls rivaling the libraries at the Audubon Society. This is of course a mockingbird. Truth be told, although I understand that it is a sin to kill a mockingbird, after three straight nights of his incessant imitations, the sentiment advised against in the saying is foremost in my mind. Yes a true harbinger of spring. Between the mockingbird's routine and the bull frog, the lovesick geese and the persnickety ducks, the blackbird's snappy call and the loud and thoroughly piercing screams of kids, spring just seems like boot camp for summer. Sensory overload.

Hannah finally sprang forth with 10 eggs which were all destroyed within 36 hours by heaven knows what. The family comes by once in awhile but steer clear mostly. Archie is the present goose gone wild in protecting Edith who is heavy with eggs still and will soon be nesting. The kids in the neighborhood are mean little sons of guns and found some of the eggs from Hannah's nest. They immediately started throwing the eggs at
Archie who is ready to stroke out as it is. They tease him unmercifully. I am one of the only humans he does not get mad at.

The Canada geese are all still mating and the process obviously takes a bit of time and energy spent on flapping wings and squawking in various odd decibels. Most everyone now is into territorial defense and in the deep still of the night, God help the trespasser and those of us who would like to sleep.

The weather has been off the wall here first cold then hot then cold. We did finally receive a start to drought relief by accumulating over 6 inches in less than 48 hours. Of course the ground could not absorb easily . dry and rock hard as it was, so flooding resulted. Odd thing about water birds is that during the height of thunderstorms they huddle together in the middle of the lake. No shelter seeking for these guys. I always marvel at this and wonder what keeps them from attracting lightening hits.

Very soon within the next two months, we will have new goslings and ducklings everywhere and then the fun changes to families prancing around with their new ones. Not unlike we do with new babies. I look forward to that time with great anticipation. At present we only have two white geese which are Franklin and his little Frank which I believe is really a little Francine on closer exam. So maybe more white geese are in the offing. Pictures will indeed follow the happy events.

Until next time.

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Friday, March 02, 2007


It is hard for me to believe that it is that time of year again. You know the signs in every species. The strutting males and primping homebody attitude of the females. However in bird country, this means a big egg loaded female hunting for a nest. The males following along as each egg-y female tries out a spot to hatch a brood. So far this morning there were at least 5 mated geese and their extended families came by to check out the tree and bush outside my bedroom window. Of the geese not yet mated, or those seeking to now have a brood with a new mate, the males are out flapping wings and strutting about with the wings extended and chest out declaring to all just who is the better of the flock. He who struts hardest and most confidently wins the female of his choice. Well there is certainly no dearth of females nor of suitors for their favors. This is not limited to 9-5 hours either. These guys carry on nightly 24/7. My parakeets are beside themselves, I would imagine, trying to figure how to mate with the suitors outside. I am sure when the season in over next fall, babies hatched and walking, the parakeets will, instead of speaking "pretty bird" and "hello" will be squawking like the constant honk of winged horny geese. The potential of this extending the cacophony of mating to an all year concert boggles the mind and sets those last remaining calm nerves on alert.

This year, whoever settles in which nesting area will be getting a little extra safety at least from the huge terrapins of snap from yesteryear. I intend to put a small turtle proof barricade around the tree with the clutch to deter any lollygagging around fresh eggs and goslings. Bullies they are but as you recall from last year, the bloated snapper got one or more of the new goslings on day one of their lives. Not this year. I vow.

We'll know soon enough who will be squatting in which tried and true nesting place and YOU will all be the first to know. This should be occurring soon. The eggs take will take 28-30 days to hatch. But the preparation of the nest take another good chunk of time so we are right on schedule.

I could use some sleep here.

Until next time.

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