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  • Writer's pictureDawn

The Discipline of Ducks (And Geese)

Over the past few months I have had the opportunity to watch lots of ducks and geese out on the golf course which is adjacent to the house.

I have found this “bird watching” to be quite fascinating. In particular, there have been a couple of goose families that have made the fifth fairway their home as well as the lake which is part of the grounds. I find myself wondering why human families do not operate in the same way.

For instance: The mother and father are with the goslings at all times, 24/7, until the little ones have grown, gotten their wings, and can fly. I haven’t looked up how long this time period is but suffice it to say it has already been a few months since the family first made an appearance. Imagine having parents who have the ability (and patience) to stay with not just one child but multiple ones for such a length of time!

There are two families of 7 goslings, and one family that has, sadly, just one “child”. In a human family this would be a spoiled child, but in the bird world it might feel a little overprotective, haha!

The other behavior I found fascinating was how well behaved the goslings were. They instinctively knew not to go into the water until a parent had made its way in first! They would get close to the waters edge at times, but never, ever go in until mom or dad were fully swimming. How do they know to do this? Human children would wander no matter where their parent was! They would have to be taught through parental command to not go in until it was safe. Yet, these young goslings were cautious from the start.

Once in the water, after the initial thrill and splashing about, the goslings would line up in a row with a parent in the front and a parent in the back. It looked like a group of preschoolers being led about on a field trip. Just adorable! Whether bird or human, a line up of “kids” is just plain cute!

Whether gosling or ducks (and there were perhaps two duck families that called this lake home), the young ones stayed close to mom or dad all day long (though with ducks the dad was rarely with the group). At night they would curl up under the watchful wings of a parent and stay tucked away until morning.

I will miss “my families” once they are grown and fly away. Next year some new ones will undoubtedly take their place and I can watch this now familiar passage of life once again.

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