A Honkin’ Good Time
(Based on some notes from a few years back, when I lived near The Thousand Islands.)
The Canada geese have been playing “Musical Back Yards”. Last week, they mostly hung out in the neighbor’s yard. This week, it’s been mine. I walk down the steps with my bag of Wonder Bread. They come running like dogs, honking in anticipation. It’s chow time.
The “young’uns” have now become surly teenagers. Their goose down is falling out and their feathers are growing in. They’re in their dorky phase, halfway between chicks and adults. Not unlike the similar dorky phase that 15-year old humans must also suffer through.
About 75% of the chicks still talk baby talk.
Cheep! cheep! cheep!
Awww…isn’t that cute?
Somewhat less cute are the ones who are learning to talk like their obnoxious parents
Hiss! Hiss! Hiss!
You really have to admire these critters’ chutzpah. They don’t like you. They really don’t. If they had claws and teeth, they’d probably attack you. But they only have feathers and beaks, and they REALLY want your food.
This puts their pea-sized bird-brains into conflict, and they don’t know quite how to act. There’s something ridiculous about being scolded by a large bird who’s spitting crumbs at you from the bread you’ve just given them:
“Hiss! Hiss! Hiss! I HATE YOU…May I have some bread please?…Hissssss! No, seriously. I HATE YOU. More bread, please…Munch. Munch. Munch. Thank you. BUT I HATE YOU…Hisssss! “
Ma Kettle starts running after another goose, hissing, with her head down. Junior sees this, pauses for a few seconds, and joins in. Yet another prime example of kids picking up bad behavior from their parents. What is our youth coming to?
Alpha Flock has a monopoly on the bread market. They surround me, the larger adults standing guard on the edges, preventing others from getting too close. I try to move around to give everyone a chance to get fed but Alpha Flock moves with me, maintaining the perimeter.
Alpha Flock’s enforcer is a dominant male I call The Big Bastard. He’s a jerk. He wont’ take food from my hand. He’ll just stand there hissing, bobbing his head back and forth like a cobra. He always has feathers in his beak from biting other geese. He routinely attacks other chicks 1/4 his size. What an asshole.
If anyone comes too close, the signal is given. Honk! Honk! Intruder alert! This gets Ol’ B.B. riled up and he chases the perpetrator, biting and hissing. Mine, he says. The bread is all mine. Once he bit poor Aunt Gertrude on the butt and held on and wouldn’t let go. They ran across the yard like they were trying to start a conga line.
Of all the geese, there are just two nice ones. I call them Gentle Sandy and Little Elmo. These two don’t hiss…they just stand patiently, waiting for me to dole out the bread which they take gently out of my hand.
They’re my favorites. I end up giving them most of the bag. The Big Bastard gets none. Screw him.
Feeding time is over. I notice the grass around me is a vibrant green, due to all the fertilizer. Cigarette-sized white and grey turds are everywhere. The perimeter of goose shit is slowly approaching my house. It used to be a good 20 feet away, now it’s almost at my front door. Does this mean I’m being accepted into the Alpha Flock?
For I am the Provider of the Wonder Bread.