Sunday, May 17, 2009

How Many Animals Do We Have?

When I started this blog after we moved to the country, I said that we had two horses, three goats, three ducks, and two cats. Well, we're down one horse since the owner took the pony away, but we're up one white domestic duck...and 14 Canada geese.

We started with two Canada geese. They'd come visit the pond for short periods of time. Then it became three, and they stayed longer. The two had babies, and eventually took the babies to the pond across the street.

Then one day there were six Canada geese, and they started staying for long periods of time. Then more started coming.

Until one day we counted, and there were 14.

You may have guessed how this came about. We feed. We were feeding 'scratch' to the ducks, and put some out for the geese one day as well, and then more as more came. Oops.

They don't really cause any problems, though. They hiss if we come too close, but back away if we keep coming. They make a lot of noise on landing, which happens in the morning, and take-off, which happens in the evening. They spend most of the day on the grass, and at dusk they sail out into the middle of the pond like some bizarre armada. They must leave after dark, because they come back in the morning.

I had wondered why they don't seem to get hunted, but then read that they're protected by the Federal Migratory Bird Act of 1918, which makes it a crime to harm a migratory bird. They mate for life, and are said to bring their young back to the breeding ground the following year after migrating. Maybe that's why we have all these geese but no goslings after the first batch? Maybe these are the young?

No way of knowing, of course, but kind of fun to imagine it's true.
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