The geese are back. Every year a pair nests and raises their brood down on the banks of the Shoshone where it runs through our property. Their return means spring is just around the corner.
We see them together now. But soon the male will be standing guard while the female lays her eggs. Then one day we will look out the window and notice that she has reappeared with several little yellow fluff balls at her side.
Just a few days after they hatch, the female will bring the goslings down to the edge of the water. It’s time for the young ones to learn about the river. She positions herself upstream and the male goes a bit downstream. She launches herself out into the current, and lets it take her. There’s a little island in the river and the female swims to it, gets out, walks upstream the length of the island and repeats the process in reverse…landing back at the riverbank in front of the brood. She will continue to do this until the babies follow her. When they enter the river, the male does too. He stays downstream of the floating babies, and keeps any stragglers from getting swept away. Together, the family swims to the island, walks its length upstream, and launches off…back to shore. They repeat this process several times each day, and any time a threat appears.
Much of their day they nibble on the grass that grows plentifully in our meadow by the river. Sometimes they venture up into the horse pasture. The horses ignore them, but I have seen young mule deer chase them playfully.
The geese will stay with us until fall. We love to watch the babies grow into beautiful images of their parents, and look forward every year to the next batch.
So now it begins.