by Betsey Harper
As most of you have seen, the geese are gone from Mills pond. After the first and second round up of waterfowl, there was only one lone goose left. His name is “Baby G” and he is a cross-breed possibly between a Brown Chinese and a White Embden or Czech. He was younger and a bit more determined than the others and stayed away. This story is about him.
His mom tried for years to have goslings and made nest after nest on the side of Mr. and Mrs. Berksan’s house across from the pond. Over several years, she sat on various nests of eggs through times of heat and cold weather, covered them from predators when she needed nourishment and exercise, and had Papa Goose and Uncle Goose close by for help too. One morning in July 2011, she came off the nest to proudly show off her baby to the Berksans. They named him appropriately, “Baby G”.
Baby G grew quickly and by spring 2012, the four were seen daily in Mills Pond. They are an unusual family, with mom in all white with an orange straight bill, and Dad and Uncle in a greyish coat with a black strongly developed basal knob on the upper side of their bills. Baby G has traits of both Mom and Dad and proudly swam with them.
After Baby G’s parents were relocated to my fowl ranch in Elgin, Baby G told all the passing pond visitors that he was upset about it. Boy, did he have a lot to say on the matter too! He was lonely and left all alone. The crew from USDA put in a tremendous amount of effort trying to capture him, but Baby G was not going to have it.
I received a phone call from a very concerned trail walker one weekday afternoon so I went to check on Baby G. I too was concerned by Baby G’s mannerisms and vocal tones. He was really missing his family. This is the day I met the Berksans. We arranged to follow up in a couple days to see what we could do to reunite Baby G with his family.
Thanks to Mr. and Mrs. Berksan, we were able to lure Baby G out of the pond, up the grass, to the side of the road, close to his home. Within just a couple minutes of sweet-talking Baby G, we were easily able to pick him up and pet him. This was the first time in over a year the Berksans were able to pet him, and Baby G liked the attention. We gently caged him and I immediately drove off to Elgin.
It was dark when I arrived at the ranch. I opened the gate, pulled out the cage, and set Baby G free. He honked and honked again. In the distance, I heard a return honk, and then another. Then out of the darkness, came three or four running, wing-flapping geese. Mom and Dad stepped forward, honking turned to excitement, this led to some head rubbing (goose hugs) between them and off they all went to roost. All in all, it was a happy reunion.
Since then, Baby G, has been inseparable from both parents, and his mom has a new nest with 3 eggs. Both Dad and Baby G stand guard.
With 9 new goslings hatched in the past two weeks from our other geese, and more to come; next year,maybe Baby G will find his own soul mate and have a family of his own.