by Fred Harding
I love all forms of nature and try to live in concert with them. I have watched this parental goose process several times over the years... It is just one of the many special treats of spending time at Yankee Lake.
While most see Geese as a nuisance, I watch and enjoy them, as I do all wildlife, and hope each year to see their inaugural flight lessons.
As is my morning's custom, I sat in the garden swing prying my eyes open with Maxwell House in order to enjoy the beauty of the early morning at Yankee Lake. A bright red sun arose over the trees from behind the Dawkins and Armistead homes; its rays bouncing off the mirror-calm waters, creating a beautiful backdrop for whatever mother nature would paint next. A few deer walked across the yard, one a majestic young prince with antler tines above his head, the song birds began to arrive at the feeders, and the hummingbirds darted in and out to sip the energizing nectar. The lake I know was awakening to a new day.
Then, about 6:30, I heard the familiar Canada Goose “call to flight.” A sound I had not heard since late spring when the eight young emerged here. I knew immediately what this meant, called Cindy, and moved to a better vantage point.
It was the inaugural flight of the Class of 2019. A great commotion ensued as two adults took flight and eight young feverishly beat their wings and ran across the top of the water. Five raised into the air, crossed in front of the morning sun and followed the adults along the shore past Skelton's to a landing sight by Heyny Island; two raised and, with an “oh___!” tumbled back into the water in the most un-gentile fashion, with their tail feathers where their head should be. One just watched, not yet ready to take the challenge.
By now, the five that had mastered the takeoff, and conquered the challenge of flight, had to address the landing. When they did, the calm waters filled with splashes and great rings in all directions, as they simultaneously met the water with great plops, much like our grandchildren sitting after their first few tentative steps.
The remaining two adults gathered up those not successful on the first try, and swam off to join the rest of the Class to try again, which they will do until all have graduated.
The geese will soon leave our lake each morning and journey to the nearby corn fields. But, as I watch them return, gliding effortlessly across the orange harvest moon, I will also remember this morning when they first rose to the bright red sun.
[Note: For those who consider the few resident geese a nuisance, do not feed them and put a small 1 – 1½ inch black plastic fence along the shoreline. It will keep the adults from bringing the young on your lawn.]