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Canada Goslings

Goslings_Afin_SDIM1122 SMALL.jpg

Each fine morning, my wife and dog take me for an hour-long walk along the McIntire River in Thunder Bay. Yesterday, I was able to get close to these kind birds that posed for a photo before venturing down to the river. How nice of them :) Cheers, Mike.
Who or what eats them?

Coyotes, raccoons, skunks, bobcats, foxes, gulls, eagles, crows and ravens all prey on Canada geese and their eggs. Humans hunt geese, particularly when they migrate in the fall. When hatched in urban environments, like in the photo, they may have very low first-year mortalities due to the abundance of food and relative scarcity of natural predators. Their life span is more than 20 years in captivity. In the wild, their life span ranges between 10 and 24 years.

Many Thunder Bay folk don’t like Canada Geese because of their abundant poop. (I cleaned up the poop in the photo, using Affinity, which took some time). Personally, I love the arrival of Canada Geese which heralds springtime and mourn their departure in the fall. They are such beautiful and elegant birds. Cheers, Mike

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
The poop can protect your waterfront property from trespass as safely stepping over ALL the poop is hard to do, LOL!

Some consider a picture without an accompanying story to be half a job well done. I’m not so sure about that but do have a story about a Canada Goose that should interest (in particular) James, because of where he lives, and Asher, because of what he does. It should also interest everyone else here because it involves a renown artist.

Before moving to Thunder Bay in the late 1990s, we lived by a small lake in Victoria Park, Kitchener, Ontario. Ducks, geese and swans inhabited the lake except during winter, including a Canada Goose with a broken wing. We were bothered about the survival of this goose, which we named Cornelius, with winter approaching. The local vets said there was nothing anyone could do, that the goose was a goner. Instead, my wife baked food for it throughout the fall and we approached some unconventional sources for advice on what to do.

One source was
Bill Lishman, described in his 2017 obituary as a “dyslexic, colour-blind, wildly creative sculptor”. He is most famous for imprinting geese on the sound of his ultralight aircraft so that they would follow his aircraft on a safe migration routes. That work became the subject of a movie called Fly Away Home, which received an Academy Award in 1986. He was also a major sculptor who worked with repurposed metal. James may remember his 85 feet (26 metre) high sculpture called Transcending the Traffic which featured in Vancouver’s Expo 86. I remember visiting it and wonder what happened to it after the Expo closed. Have you any idea James?

Bill wasn’t able to help directly but put us in contact with a bird sanctuary that was happy to receive a Canada Goose because they are apparently good with goslings of other geese. The next step was to figure out how to capture Cornelius. Wardens of Victoria Park provided us with a net and cage big enough for the task. We waited until the first morning that the lake had frozen over sufficiently for us to walk upon. My daughter and me eventually succeeded in capturing Cornelius, who was transported to the sanctuary the following day. We heard that Cornelius settled in well, mated the following year with another injured goose, and had a brood of health goslings of his own.

Now you know why I remain very fond of Canada Geese despite all their poop. Cheers, Mike