The local internet buzzed. The local goose had tangled itself in a loose strand of fishing line, with a barbed lure tearing at her throat.
The local goose was an odd duck. My best effort called her a Greylag or an Anser Anser. She was mean and would chase children. She had a shakedown scheme whereas she’d block the hiking path and extort bread crumbs with her posse, from the hikers. I figured most folks would think good riddance.
But She’d hung with a posse of mallards. They’d often swim behind her in tight formation, like ducklings. She was the lone, abandoned Greylag goose on the Lake; sort of a Lost in Space vibe.
The goose who thought she was an Alpha duck.
And when word went out that the nasty lonely goose needed help, about a dozen neighbors showed on a freezing foggy morning. They brought nets and blankets and baskets and waders and all were determined to capture the mean goose and deliver it to the Audubon Society for medical attention.
And as people stood around, they started talking.
“We named her Lucy.”
“He charged me the first three times I walked by. We call him Larry.”
“ He paces me for a few yards when I jog by. I named him Greg the Grey goose.”
“Well an old couple use to feed it every day. It would walk them back to their car. It’s name is Lady Gaga.”
“Ahem. Well you all can have a little fun with the goose’s name but it’s our grand daughter who named it Lucy and she was very emphatic.”
“Well that old couple is my grandparents and they think Lady Gaga is a fine name.”
And just before the who-named-the-goose discussion overheated, came the announcement. The hook and line were gone. The goose shook it free or a benefactor had already fished it loose! We built and preserved community solidarity, and the grumpy Goose was ok! People were crying. I had something in my eye.
In gratitude, the otters put on a short show, and an eagle splashed into the Lake.
Greylags are bred for eating and become larger than Canadians, weighing 7 lbs. They are non-native and were likely released/escaped from a farm long ago.
I used to see other greylags occasionally at a golf course 10 miles to the west. But those greylags always vanished after a few days.
This one has squatted at Bethany Lake for at least 5 years, defying coyotes.
We narrowly escaped a heart-wrenching tragedy. Folks had assurances from the Audubon Society that they were waiting to help out our goose. But what would have happened when we showed up with Lucy and the Audubon people saw it was a domestic goose, which they are expressively forbidden to treat?
I don’t know why an Audubon person would have agreed in advance to help a non native goose, against their policy. A failure to communicate.
Fortunately the Goose was treated short of the Society, to the pleasure of grandparents and granddaughters.
The greylag goose was one of the first animals to be domesticated; this happened at least 3000 years ago in Ancient Egypt, the domestic breed being known as A. a. domesticus.[4 (from Wiki).
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