Life of a Golf Course Goose

 

A sentry on duty

 We have the good or bad fortune of living on a golf course fairway. Canada geese also make the golf course their home, and they are a really exciting bird to watch beginning in the early spring and throughout the year.  I hunt waterfowl, but not the Canada goose as it would be like hunting my neighbors.  The golf course has everything the Canada Goose needs.  There is plenty of food as the fairway is composed of grass that attracts their palate.  The fairway has a large body of water along one side, and there is a sand pit.  Food to eat, water to drink and to float around on, and sand for their gizzards are all they need.  

The grasses on the golf course are very digestible and the layout of the course is very open and allows the birds protection from predators.  They can see a problem coming at a great distance. They are also somewhat protective of their territory.  There is one exception and that is the golfers.  They move off to a safe distance generally about 20 feet and continue their constant grazing as the golfers play through.

Morning on the golf course.

The property lines between the golf course and our back yards are very discernible.  We plant blue grass which is considerably darker and longer than the grass on the golf course.  Golf course grass is generally bent grass, and is shorter and a lighter color and more dense.  The geese will graze right up to the grass line separating the two properties and rarely cross over into back yards.  The other item might be that when they get close to the houses they do not have that much protective space. 

This spring we counted five families on the course each one having from 4 to 10 babies.  One family stood out as the mother sat on a nest right opposite our home along the lake.  She sat and sat with nothing happening.  Neighbors we talked with were all worried whether she had any eggs alive in the nest.  

Here she sits on her nest.  Everyone was worried about her and we were worried the golfers might disturb her.  They ignored her and played on through. 

 

That is dad out floating around.  He stayed right close to her and if a golfer got close he went toward him/her. 

Then it happened.  We got up early one morning to see how mom was doing and there they were.  Ten little puff balls running around but staying close to the parents.  Mom and dad were very attentive and kept them all together.  

The little devils were running all around and it was hard to get a picture of them all together.
 
Mom and Dad with the chicks in the low spot.
 
Mom dad and the family out for breakfast.

They grow really fast and soon we could not determine whose family we were looking at.  As they got bigger it was hard to count as they scooted around the golf course.  

That is two families out for stroll.  They walked between houses, across the street, to the pond in the next neighborhood.  Amazing!

This is a family of eight.  Not the one we initially watched.
 
Another morning on the golf course

We had five families on the golf course and as I indicated earlier family size ranged from 4 to 10 goslings.  As they grew it became harder to distinguish families when they were all on the golf course.

There is our 10.
 
They grew at an outstanding rate.  This is one of the first families. 

 

A couple of visitors showed up one morning.  We did not see them go for the geese as they come periodically to fish.

Eagles fly in from the river and perch on the roof tops waiting for a fishing opportunity.
 
That is a family and it is amazing how fast they grow then start flying.
 
Families.
 
We caught them again one morning walking between the houses down to the next pond.  A snow goose has hung out with them all spring and summer. 

We are close to the end of October and we generally have Canada geese flocked up and occupying the fairway we live on from the T box to the hole.  But not this year, but the year is not over.  

Look for my next two posts.  I just got back from an Elk hunt in Idaho and a fishing trip on Lake Francis Case in South Dakota.  Now to start duck hunting.  It is a dirty job, but someone has to do it.

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Goodnight!!!

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