Being on the river I have enjoyed watching the little geese families milling around. One lot, I call them the mutant goose family, have been my favourites. They must be a cross between Canadian geese and perhaps a domestic goose. They mingle with the other Canadians and seem well accepted, but they’re a funny looking bunch.
Two of the mutants hatched 4 babies. They’re older then the other hatched Canadian off spring. I’ve started calling the mutant babies Teen Goose Squad. They’re just at the point of losing their yellow fluff and getting their markings. They’re about the size of ducks.
One of the mutant geese is this hearty bird. Perhaps 1/4 larger then the Canadians. It’s got a really gruff call – not really a “honk-honk” as much as a “hhhhhrank-hhhhhrraaank”. I’ve gotten quite fond of this guy as he really stands out.
About 3 weeks back I noticed he walks with a pretty bad limp and has started shaking his head a fair amount. I’ve kept my eye on him hoping he doesn’t get worse. In the last week or so I’ve noticed he seems to be moving around fairly well out of water so I figured he healed ok or perhaps it is a birth defect I never noticed before -he is a mutant goose after all (I learn later Gimpy isn’t a mutant at all. He’s an African Goose)
Today Gimpy was down at the bank with his (her?) mate and Teen Goose Squad. About 15-20 other Canadians were there and about 10 other younger fuzzy yellow geese.
I thought it was time to introduce myself. I grab a bit of old bread (not too much as I know it’s not the best for them) and head down to the bank.
At first I was welcomed by a feisty big Canadian fella. He put his head down and gave me a hisssssss warning. I put my head down and walked towards him. He backs off a bit. I start handing out little bread bits and the mutant goose family start heading over.
Gimpy is a bit unsure of me. He stands along the edge of the group making little “unk-unk” noises. His mate Spotty however walks right over to me with the kids in tow. I offer out a few little bread pieces and they come closer. After about 5 minutes of talking quietly to them and handing out tiny bits of bread they’re eating from my hands. Gimpy is still off to the side.
One of the grouchy Canadians decides to charge one of the mutant goslings. I decided to run an interception. I walk toward the Canadian, put my head down and walked him back into the water.
That’s all it took to win Gimpy over.
I went back to the shore and squatted back down. I offered out a few more bread bits and Gimpy hobbled right over to me. He ended up with his chest pushing on my knee asking for food. Moments later I was surrounded by the entire mutant clan. Dorky, Spotty, Honky, Squaty, Bumpy and Gimpy. It was rather cool.
A couple of the little ones got so brave they walked under me between my legs. I could reach out and place my hands on their backs and they didn’t freak out. Gimpy let my run my hand down his neck and pet the front of his chest with my hand.
Of course my reason for wanting to get close to Gimpy is to check out his foot and head to see if I can see anything wrong. It was easy to get a look at his head. A few times he leaned into me and was just inches from my face. His bill and head were a bit scared up. I didn’t see any open wounds or anything that looked fresh. Perhaps the Canadians pick on him (“Honk honk. You’re an ugly goose eh.”) or he got thrashed by some critter.
I wondered how I’d take a closer look at his foot. I decided I’d see if he’d let me touch it. At one point he was facing away from me and I reached down and touched his gimp leg. He didn’t move. I lifted his leg up and he didn’t move. He just let me do it. I got a full look at his leg and bottom of his webby foot. He stood there the whole time just looking at me not worried in the least..
It was pretty cool. A wild critter allowing my to inspect him like that. Being allowed to mingle with the goose family. He never seemed bothered at all.
I spent another 10 minutes with mutant goose family before heading back up to the house.