110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
By Lynn Bowen
posted Dec 15, 2013 - 11:13:46am
While hiking around Earl Brown Park in DeLand recently, I saw a tall goose walking among Muscovy ducks and white ducks, and he waddled within 3 feet of me and noisily honked at me. I had never seen a goose at Earl Brown before, so this was intriguing to see and hear.
The goose was about 3 feet tall, and had a bright orange bill, and legs and feet that matched. His long neck had a black stripe on the top, and his body was plump — he probably weighed 10 pounds. His plumage was gray and white.
This goose was quite aggressive to all living creatures at the park, including me! Since I like to pretend that I understand what birds are saying, I was certain he was hungry and begging for food. Of course, many people feed the ducks and other birds at this park, so it isn’t unusual to see birds begging. But Mr. Goose was very persistent.
I talked to him (yes, I talk to birds, just like people talk to their dogs or cats), and explained that I didn’t have any food, which he could easily see. Perhaps my purse camera looked like food. He gave up after a couple of minutes.
Now my mind was full of curiosity as to what kind of goose this was. I dashed home and flipped through my bird book but couldn’t find a match. Oh my, did an exotic bird fly here from a remote area or maybe a zoo?
Finally it dawned on me that domestic and farm birds are not in the wild-bird books! I assume this goose escaped from a farm somewhere. Why he visited Earl Brown Park is a puzzle.
He could fly and also swim, and probably liked the sight of other birds being around. He was gone later in the day when I returned. Does he know how to find his own food? No wonder he was expecting a handout! Maybe he could learn from the Muscovies.
With a little help from Google, I found out that this was a graylag goose. Since it acted like an “alpha” goose, a leader, I’m assuming it was a male. Perhaps he was meant to be someone’s Christmas dinner -- no wonder he found a way to escape!
— Bowen lives in DeLand. Send email to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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