Saturday, October 22, 2011

Little Guy

Last spring I wrote about drama in the flock of geese that lives in my backyard. One of the baby geese was killed. At the time I thought Milo, the flock's leader, killed the baby; now I think it was a group of crows. Milo just wouldn't do that. Crows, on the other hand, would.

The dead baby had only one sibling, who was alone after the murder. Over the months that followed I made sure to give that baby extra food because I felt sorry for him. All the other babies had siblings to play with. Not Little Guy. He was all alone, poor thing.

These days, Little Guy is almost as big as the other adult males in the flock. He's a couple of inches shorter, as are all the juveniles. And he loves me. This goose follows me around wherever I go. He doesn't just come near me; he steps on my shoes in an effort to get as close as he can, like he wants me to pick him up and hug him.

And he lets me pet him! This surprises me. Somehow I thought a wild goose wouldn't allow this degree of intimacy with a human. But he does. He's warm when I touch him and his feathers feel like velvet. It's delightful and I think I'm in love. I hand-feed him every day. He's so funny.

If, for instance, I put food down on the ground for him and then go on my way, he abandons the food and follows me. He's always right behind my feet, making me worry that I'll trip over him. I can't help but laugh each time I find him there. What a great bird.

I'm going to miss these guys when the flock leaves for the winter. I wish I could take Little Guy into the house for the cold months. I wonder how you potty-train a goose.