A short stay at the pond

Yesterday, a beautiful pair of Canada Geese suddenly appeared on our neighbor’s pond. Leisurely swimming from one end to the other, they were checking out the water and its environs to see if it was a suitable place to nest. I watched from a distance for quite a while, snapped a couple of pictures, and left so as not to disturb them.

Canada geese

We live in an area where strong-running creeks flowing out of the mountains vastly outnumber the slow-moving bodies of water that geese prefer, so I was a little surprised to see them. But our neighbor’s pond is made-to-order. With gently flowing water, a moderately sloped bank with no tall vegetation to hide a predator, and a surround of mowed grass perfect for eating, I’m sure the geese pair were thinking this spot would do quite nicely.

But things are not always as they seem. This morning, I happened to look out the window just in time to see a coyote loping out of the woods, headed in the direction of the pond. As I watched, out came another…and another…and another! I immediately thought of the geese, but when I looked over at the pond, they were gone. Perhaps they had seen the coyotes earlier and beat a hasty retreat. With four coyotes in the area, they would have stayed at their peril and put their young at extreme risk.

And coyotes aren’t the only predator the geese would have had to worry about. Their eggs and young would be tempting to foxes, skunks, raccoons, and even ravens. That’s why geese populations are increasing in urban and suburban areas. These areas provide excellent goose habitat with far fewer predators than a rural setting like ours. Well-kept lawns, golf courses, business parks, city parks, and recreational fields provide excellent forage. They also often contain water reservoirs, lakes, ponds, and marshes dotted with islands that provide safe nesting sites for geese.

I hated to see the geese leave, but the pond wasn’t a safe place to raise their young. With any luck, they will find a more suitable place and in just a few weeks, be parading a new family.

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12 thoughts on “A short stay at the pond

    • They were too far away for my camera lens and in within five seconds they had disappeared behind a hill. Believe me, if I could have gotten a picture I would have. They are just too cautious and too fast!

    • It’s the coyotes I can’t get pictures of – all I get are glimpses and they’re gone.
      When I lived in the suburbs of Maryland, there were tons of geese that roosted overnight on the pond at the water treatment plant. The pond was fenced, which kept out predators, so the geese congregated there because they were safe.

    • Yes, they are graceful and beautiful to watch. I love sharing our property with all of nature, but when there’s large predators around, there’s always pressure on other wildlife. Oh, well, that’s how nature is supposed to work.!.

  1. Hi, Jo Ann: Beautiful picture! Too bad those darn coyotes appeared…but I’m glad the geese are safe! Wish some geese would come to our wetlands except that “Pickles” (Meg ‘n’ Dan’s yellow lab) would probably scare them away. Margie

  2. Bill wanted to put in a pond, but I talked him out of it. We’d have to worry about the grandchildren and Autumn would be jumping in, even in the winter, if she saw a duck or a goose in it – that’s what labs do. No sign of the coyotes recently, so hopefully they have moved on. We’re getting snow right now, but it’s not supposed to amount to anything. Winter’s last gasp, I hope!

    • No sign of the coyotes for the last few days. I know they hunt a pretty big territory. The good thing is I can relax now with our chickens and small (cute) doggie!

  3. Canada Geese are quite plentiful here in Ohio- you’ll sometimes see ‘please don’t feed the geese’ signs at office and apartment complex ponds. They’ve got lots of personality!

    • I think there are more predators in the country so they actually prefer urban and suburban environments. Years ago, when I worked in Washington, DC, they were everywhere – even places where there wasn’t an water!

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