After Gerald tucked Ian into his stiffed straw crate, Gerald went to bed Monday night thinking this new goose was comfortable and safe up against the house under the roofed patio. Waking up before day break Tuesday, Gerald was soon out there to say good morning to Ian—and Ian was gone. He searched and looked everywhere; and although there were no feathers, we had to figure a varmint had carried him away and eaten him. When there continued to be no sign of him anywhere, Gerald resigned himself to calling Ian’s human and telling her the quick sad ending to Ian's life at Woodsong.
Since Sebastopal geese cannot fly, I did fantasize that maybe Ian’s story would be like some lost dog stories I have heard when weeks or months later, dogs showed up at their owner’s home. I wondered if this kind of geese could have a homing instinct that would take him walking across fields and woods and roads and ponds and lead him back to his human and to that brother he had picked fights with. Someone had written me how social Sebastopal geese are, and I felt sorry for him being so lonely and hoped we’d get a phone call from his human saying Ian was back home. But I did not really think that was going to happen. We have had too many sad experiences with the varmints eating our geese when we tried to keep tame ones on the lake. Several years ago, we gave up trying, and we just enjoy the wild geese and ducks when they happen to visit.
However, what happened is even better than a call from the distant neighbor. Gerald just came into my office smiling and said, “Ian’s alive.” He explained Ian was on the other side of the lake with a flock of Canadian geese. I was quick to rush out to the family room to take Gerald’s binoculars and enjoy seeing Ian preening himself beside his fellow creatures and not looking at all lonely. Gerald was shaking his head in wonder as he had made many trips around the lake since Monday morning looking for this lost goose. I continued watching as Ian joined the ten or so Canadians to swim happily with them. Gerald had already gone to phone Ian’s human with this happy and unexpected news.
We have to assume that Ian had found refuge and was hiding out on the little island Gerald built summers ago. Its purpose was to provide a safe place for our geese, but it proved unsuccessful as animals swam to the island just as the geese did. Gerald’s worst goose story, however, was watching a proud mama with new babies in a nest right under our bedroom window. While I was in Freeport with our daughter, he was on the phone telling me about it. Suddenly a hawk flew down and snatched the mother goose and killed her in front of his eyes. He hurried off the phone and took the baby geese and remaining eggs down to his brother Keith’s farm to put in an incubator there, but that image is still in my mind even though I only heard it over the phone. That and all the other sad stories had made us assume Ian was gone. Keith.our poultry expert, figured a coyote carried Ian off.
I don’t know how long this new flock of wild geese will stay here, but right now Ian has company, and I am glad. His human was right. Ian likes our lake and is able to make the adjustment. Long live Ian!
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