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The Canadian Goose: A Love Story

Updated on May 11, 2014

I think it's funny and incredibly egotistical the way we determine another being's worth basically by how similar they are to us. Even individually it's always so important that we find out what we have in common with one another. Were that not the case these dating sites wouldn't know what the hell to do with themselves. Which brings me to my topic. Monogamy.

The goose family was unconcerned about the closeness of passersby from years of cohabitating with us.
The goose family was unconcerned about the closeness of passersby from years of cohabitating with us.

Monogamous and a little messy

Research suggests that like people, a goose may or may not find a new mate when it loses its life partner. Like a rare handful of humans, geese mate for life, remaining devoted to their goose love as long as they live. And indeed they mourn the passing of their mates and often stop associating with their flock for a period, or even forever. The good news is they all do have a flock to rejoin should they decide they want to.

The Canadian goose is more monogamous than your average golfer, so it really poaches my eggs when these old guys get their Depends all bunched up because the geese are mucking up their golf courses with their poo. They want to round them up and exterminate them. Beware of karma, golfers, because she can be a bitch. If you suddenly lose control of your bowels would you like to suffer the same fate? Say you're on the back 9 and you get that rumble and sweat and then all hell breaks loose in your khakis, should we consider you a nuisance? I think so. I say any golfer worth his salt should be able to navigate some goose poo. I say if you are going to take up a massive swath of land and pump water onto it the least you can do is share it with the geese. Of course this article does not take into consideration kind golfers, and I've known several, but sweeping generalizations make for more exciting reading, so at risk of seeming narrow-minded, I shall leave that bit in.

Then Pain of Loss

There is a goose that hangs out on the street near my place of work. He's not there because he has a robust affinity for office parks. The draw of the manmade ponds and relative safety from predators aside, the geese tend to come and go. A few make their nests there and it's fascinating to watch the females sit on their eggs while the males hang close by, doing male things like honking and picking fights with other geese. But this aforementioned goose stays. He lingers near the road, alone, picking at the grass or staring out at who-knows-what, his elegant neck extended, where a few months ago I saw a goose on the side of the road. It looked like it was at rest, it's head tucked alongside its body, but it didn't move and lay there the entire day, undoubtedly the victim of an automobile taking the turn too fast. My heart broke when I saw it. After seeing this lone goose near the scene of the accident I can only assume it chooses to stay there, alone, mourning the death of his partner (whether the goose is male or female is a mystery to me). It never strays far and sometimes I think it has moved on, then I see it, a little further back in a parking lot or behind a stand of trees. My heart breaks every time I glimpse the lonely bird.

Inconveniently feisty?

The Canada goose inspires loathing in some and admiration and respect in others. They will defend themselves, their loved ones and particularly their eggs and young ferociously. This is behavior admired in humans but somehow worthy of disdain when it applies to the non-human animal kingdom, where we prefer beings to be docile and easygoing or out of sight. We would like our fellow animals to be cute and clean and never aggressive, and please deposit your waste in a place more convenient for us, like Canada perhaps. We'll take down your natural habitat with impunity and complain that you're hanging around and having the audacity to treat us with mistrust. Can't you be more polite?

Geese have a regal demeanor.
Geese have a regal demeanor.

"He's your lobster..."

Black buzzards, French angelfish, and wolves are just a few of our animal brethren who mate for life. Swans and gibbons as well. All different shapes and sizes. Like us, some of them are gay, some of them are straight and I must assume some of them are everything in between.

Black buzzards, who so many think are nothing but hideous carrion eaters, may have this very conversation:

Female buzzard to male life partner, "You've got a little something, " as she gestures toward the corner of his long, black beak. He wipes a little coagulated blood onto the grass beside a long dead carcass they've been snacking upon.

"Thanks," replies the big male bird.

So I'll continue to think of my bereft goose friend and the way he reminds me of the universality of the joy of love and the pain of loss. I wish him the best and hope that perhaps someday when he is able to smile at the fond memories of his lost mate, however geese may smile, that he will find a new love. And I will hold out hope that the human animal will be able to feel empathy and kinship with all the inhabitants of the world, even if they poo on golf courses or eat dead things.

Love. Sometimes it ain't pretty, but it's always beautiful. Let's spread a little.


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    • jo miller profile image

      Jo Miller 

      4 years ago from Tennessee

      I'm married to an incredibly kind golfer who regularly rescues terrapins. But, generally speaking, he hates geese. He says they're mean. Though I've never heard him complain about them being on the golf course.

      I don't have any close relationships with geese, but I like to hear their calls.

      A wonderful piece of writing.

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 

      4 years ago from West By God

      Voted up, awesome and beautiful. Thank you for your telling of the story and that we all love in our own ways and grieve them too. I love the Canadian Geese as they fly south for the winter and then up this way for the summer months. I will hear a couple every once in a while just flying form one pond to another. They are truly beautiful birds.

      As a side note: just maybe humans were not meant to mate for life, but it was put into our heads by the clergy who were ruled over by the empire of the day....just a thought.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      4 years ago from England

      I love this! yes poo and all those Geese are amazing! the photos you got here are similar to the ones I took the other day down by my river, well not my river,! the photos didn't come out but the geese were literally about a ft away from me with their babies! and yes they hissed, boy did they hiss when we got a little too close! but so sad to hear that the mourn like that, its not just us humans who have the right to love, animals do too, wonderful! voted up and shared, nell

    • kikinusbaumer profile imageAUTHOR

      Kiki Nusbaumer 

      4 years ago from Chesterfield, VA

      You guys are amazing! Thanks for the wonderful, friendly feedback!

    • CrisSp profile image


      4 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      This is such a delightful read although a bit moving. I like the way you have paralleled us with these creatures and much as these birds can be a nuisance to some, I'm glad to see them back in the park and waterside. It sure is spring!

      Good thoughts and observations.

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 

      4 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, Kiki,

      Very lovely piece. A great read. I had to vote UP and away. What a talent you are. This story was a living organism instead of a few hundred word linkages and a few photos thrown in for looks. It was touching.

      Keep up the great work.

      And now I cordially-invite you to head over to my profile and check two of my hubs and please become one of my followers.

      I would love it.


      Kenneth/ from northwest Alabama

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 

      4 years ago from Texas

      Kiki, Welcome to HubPages, I love this, I was so touched by this horrible sadness the Goose must have felt and the aloneness.

      As I read this I am thinking of my grandson when he was about six. A bird flying over as we were getting into the car, dropped a bomb on the windshield. I said to my grandson, "did you see what that dirty bird did?" I will never forget what he said, "well he had to drop it somewhere, I am sure you car was not a target, now if he hit you, I would say you were his taget."

      Voted up, UABI and shared and pinned to Awesome HP.

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 

      4 years ago from Deep South, USA

      It really ticks me off (but is typical) that 'Related Search' terms listed to the right of the comments section for this hub include 'Nuisance Geese' and 'Geese Control.'

      What about 'Nuisance People' and 'People Control?" We don't exterminate people who act like jerks, and I think that's certainly worse than geese pooping on a golf course!

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 

      4 years ago from Deep South, USA

      Kiki - This was a delightful read. The monogamy and mourning of the Canadian goose that lost his (her?) mate touched me. Animals are not only intelligent, but have emotions, including love and grief. They may be different from homo sapiens, but are much more like us than thought only a century ago. Those that mate for life are certainly more loyal than many of us whose relationships don't last as long as the average magazine subscription.

      The scenario you posed about potential karma for those golfers who want to do away with the geese because of goose poo on the golf course had me laughing out loud.

      Please keep writing!

      Voted Up+++++



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