Just a little story
Around 17 years
ago, we found three Chinese Geese on the side of the road. For some unknown
reason, they had attained their freedom. They were tame, and when they got
close to me, (I was alone with my dog) I grabbed one, and wrapped him in a bed
sheet so he wouldn’t injure himself, and took him home. When I got home, and
released him on my 2 acres, he was visibly distressed, and I realized that he
was missing his two friends.
I convinced Denise to assist me, and we
returned to where I had found them, with some feed grain. The two immediately
came to us, and we managed to snag a second goose.
The third was
spooked enough that we were unable to coax him near, so we went home with the
one. When we released him, he immediately joined the first one, and we could
see that they were glad to be back together. They were still visibly
distressed, so Denise and I woke the next day, and went back for the third
When we got there,
the third goose came right to us, and we captured him with little effort. When
we released him onto the property, it was easy to see that the three belonged
together. They were inseparable, in the pond, or on dry land. I called them
“J.C. and the boys” in honor of my favorite “Catholic” joke! (FATHER, SON, HOLY GHOST, AND ALL THAT)
The purpose of this
story is to illustrate some of the aspects of freedom. I took away the freedom
of three geese. Had I left them, they would have been killed by wild animals.
In this situation, they were barely aware that they were my captives, being
unable to fly. Freedom is relative. The geese were free to roam on two acres
with a pond. They were as happy as they could be,
relatively safe from predators.
One of the geese
appeared to be older, and the two younger geese followed the older one
everywhere. One day, a coyote got past the fence, and, in the process of
defending the two youngsters, the old man was injured. He hid under the trailer
for several days while he recovered from his injuries.
later, another coyote got into the yard, and this time, the old man was killed
defending the two youngsters. I saw the coyote from my living room window. When
I opened the door, the coyote ran away, and I didn’t realize that I had lost a
goose until I saw the other two, alone. I found his body, later. L
The two continued
to be inseparable until the Canadians invaded. One day, several Canadian
Honkers landed, and the white goose that I named “J.C.” befriended the
Canadians, and they built a nest, laid eggs, and hatched eight goslings. J.C.
became the surrogate parent/defender, and the babies ignored their parents, and
followed J.C. everywhere.
The hawks got two of them, but six survived to
fly away later that summer, much to the distress of J.C.
As the babies were
learning to fly, they would run across the field flapping their wings, and
gaining altitude with each practice run. J.C. would run with them, flapping,
and trying to fly, but was unable to get his fat butt off the ground.
They returned each
year, parents and babies, and the parents hatched out a new batch every year,
constantly chasing previous year’s babies away.
J.C. continued as
surrogate parent. It is so amusing to watch the fuzzy babies follow J.C.
around, much to the parent’s chagrin.
The previous year’s
babies befriended the remaining gray goose that I named U2 (you too!). Two of
them built a nest, and hatched out several babies, but the hawks got them all.
In the meantime, U2
was practicing flying with the babies, and he was able to leave the ground. Two
years ago, (spring of 2015, mating season) U2 made it over the fence, and into
the neighbor’s yard. I called them on the phone, and got permission to go get
him. From that day, he was constantly flying over the fence, into a different
neighbor’s yard each time, and with considerable difficulty, I would retrieve
Spring of 2016, U2
continues to fly over the fence. We got new neighbors, and I cut a gate into
the fence so that we could enter each other’s property with little difficulty.
Fortunately for me, U2 was flying into the new neighbor’s yard, and all I had
to do was open the gate, call his name, and he would follow me home.
spring, (actually, late winter) U2 flew over the fence, and across the road,
and over another fence, into my neighbor Dan Humble’s
yard. He also has a pond, and several Canadian honkers call that home. For
once, I felt that he was safe, and I was in no big hurry to get him back home.
I telephoned Dan, and let him know that U2 was there. I told him I would come
and get him anytime. Dan said, “No problem”. For some unknown reason, a few
days later, Dan decided to “herd” him home, and U2 flew away in the wrong
direction, toward the main road, into an unfenced, open field.
I never saw him
again. U2 finally gained his “FREEDOM”, only to be killed by wild animals.
J.C. is still here.
His Canadian friends have built two nests, and I am expecting more than a dozen
babies this spring. J.C. is a happy prisoner of “gravity”.
isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. J L ! ! !
5-15-18 We lost J.C. today! He was swimming in the
pond with this year’s babies when he collapsed and died. It just isn’t the same
without him. He will be missed!