Another hatch of goslings have taken flight from the pond. In the flyway we saw huge numbers of Canada geese – here, we see a single pair, year after year, who are our Summer neighbors, and traffic slows to watch them.
Gander seems as strong and youthful as ever, but the years are taking a toll on Goose – the cold Spring months that she spends on the nest have aged her more She walks slowly, spends more time with her head held low, and leaves the flock leadership to Gander. Hopefully, she will winter easily and return to raise another flock next Spring.
They chose the pond because the island makes a safe nesting spot as soon as the ice goes out. They arrive early, to beat the competitors, with last year’s flock. This year, the hatching took two rainy days – Goose remaining on the nest, Gander on the goslings. Their parenting dedication is impressive.
July has been the month of flight training. Gander starts training them on water landings before they can fly, with flapping runs from the dock to drop into the water, move to swimming mode, and leave open space for their siblings. The next stage of flight training includes a walk into the mowed field, then a takeoff, circling until organized, and a water landing in the pond – repeated until everything is satisfactory. Eventually they move to landings on solid surfaces, then to forced takeoffs when he leads them close to the house and the small dogs. Then one day the flock flies off to other sites in the area, returning occasionally to the home pond.