Injured Goose

On our morning dog walks Carole & I walk along the river, past out neighbor Betty's house. Betty feed the Canada Geese every morning & there is often a big flock of them around. A few weeks ago we noticed that one big male was dragging a broken wing. He has been making a living all right in the summer, but now the geese are gathering to fly to their southern range, he is soon going to be in trouble. I called Betty this morning to tell her about a bird rehabilitator I'd found through the county SPCA. Turns out Betty had found the same woman. The goose with the broken wing is unlikely to every fly again, but will be cared for. One touching detail: the injured bird's mate sticks close by him, even when all the other geese have flown off. It's easy to sentimentalize animals, of course, but I find this animal loyalty moving. Betty & I agreed we'd take the bird person's advice as to whether the mate should be captured too. I suspect it will be best to take the injured bird & encourage the mate to rejoin the flock. Not as satisfying as a human story, but probably a better story for the goose.

Author: jd

Joseph Duemer is Professor of Literature Emeritus at Clarkson University in northern New York state. His most recent book of poems is Magical Thinking from Ohio State University Press. Since the mid-1990s he has spent a good deal of time in Vietnam, mostly Hanoi. He lives with his wife Carole & five terriers (four Jack Russells & one Patterdale) on the stony bank of the Raquette River in South Colton.