Thursday, February 10, 2011

Goosey and the Case of the Missing Eggs

A few months ago, I acquired the pet goose of someone who had to move where pets aren't allowed.  Goosey (she came with the name and she knows her name so Goosey she is) has been very good at keeping the grass cut.  She's also very good at fertilizing it.  This is my first up-close experience with a goose.  I would never have guessed that a single goose could produce such a large volume of fertilizer.  I'm glad she didn't come with a mate!

Late last week, Goosey began to behave rather strangely, being quite friendly one minute then nibbling at you the next.  We wondered what was going on until Monday morning arrived and we found Goosey sitting on half a dozen eggs near the edge of the driveway.  Having read about the extreme measures parent geese will take to protect their offspring, including eggs that won't produce any offspring, we took a wide berth around Goosey.  She sat on those eggs all day.

On Tuesday morning, I noticed that Goosey was farther up the hill cutting the grass, so I went out to get a good look at the eggs.  I found a bowl-shaped depression in the grass, but no eggs.  And everytime I went outside or looked out a window, Goosey was wandering about cutting more grass or playing in the water or teasing the dog and cats.  (Although Goosey is the newcomer, she acts like she is Manager of All Four-footed Critters, and maybe the two-footed ones, too.)  I didn't see any broken eggshells nearby, so I ruled out the raccoons as possible theives.  The humans that knew about the eggs said they didn't take them.  So where did six very large eggs go?  Could a goose somehow move the eggs without breaking any?  It seemed unlikely, especially since the only choices were a gravelled driveway one way that soon went downhill or a blackberry thicket the other that also eventually went downhill.

A neigbor down the road reported that their dog had been attcked by a coyote Sunday night, so we wondered if the coyote had returned Monday night and taken the eggs.  That, too, seemed unlikely.  Another neighbor's chickens or their eggs would be more tempting and a lot easier to transport via coyote mouth, I think.  So I've been watching Goosey for several days now, waiting to see if she'd lead me to a new nest.  She didn't.

A friend came out today and parked her old, boat-sized car near Goosey's empty nest.  She came in and said, "You'll never guess what I almost stepped on.  Goosey's new nest!  And all six eggs are in it!"  Goosey had moved her eggs a few feet away, still near the edge of the blackberry thicket, and had covered the eggs so well with dried grasses that they were pretty much undetectable.  And she knew not to sit there when anyone was nearby.  Clever Goosey!

I wonder if she knows that those eggs are never going to hatch?

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