Short Photoessay: Goose Drama at the Marsh

Started Jul 6, 2012 | Discussions thread
Flat view
jalywol Veteran Member • Posts: 8,558
Short Photoessay: Goose Drama at the Marsh

Nature is not always kind.

As you probalby know, I have a favorite waterway near where I work that I frequent for landscape and wildlife shots. This year, there were a ton of goslings, but their nests were quite a ways up the waterway, due to damage to the regular nesting grounds last year from Irene. This left few regular resident birds near the bank that I photograph from; mostly this year there are some ducks and one solitary goose there.

The parent geese up the creek, however, clearly keep an eye out down the marsh for activity on the bank, since that usually means FOOD.....If you stand there for about 5 minutes, several goose families will make their way to where you are, and you will be surrounded by rather a large quantity of healthy looking birds in very short order.

I noticed, earlier in the spring, that there seemed to be a goose with no mate who hung out not far from the other geese, but not too close either. As I was watching him one day, I realized that he had only one foot. He was entirely missing his left leg and foot from what would be the bird equivalent of the knee down. He seemed to be in good body condition otherwise, and was perfectly able to swim, fly, and even walk (well, hop) on land; the only thing that was a bit difficult was getting out of the water. Unfortunately, since having a mate means having to vigorously defend it from other male geese, his leglessness put him at a serious disadvantage, and clearly eliminated him from the breeding community.

When I went down to the marsh this week, however, I noticed that he was not doing quite as well, and then got to see why...

If you look closely in the first two photos, you can see his tailfeathers are damaged, and his leg stump has been re-injured. If you look really closely at the first photo, you can see where his beak has also been injured.

A student came along and was watching the birds, and he got some photos of the one-legged goose.

If you look in the background of the first shot of their interaction, however, you can see the other geese coming in to see if there is anything to eat....

Unfortunately, as soon as they got to the bank, the upstream geese started menacing the one-legged goose, followed by a nasty attack on it (the last photo actually shows two geese; the one-legged one out in front trying to get to the reeds to get away from its attacker.)

Of course, after chasing him away, the other geese returned to the bank to see if there were any goodies to be had....(Which there were NOT)...

The person who the geese are gathering around in the last photo (just out of frame) was saying that she had been trying for a few weeks to get a sanctuary to take the injured goose in, but nobody seemed interested.

It's just sad, since I am sure he will end up being repeatedly injured by the other geese until he gets an infection or gets too injured to eat or take care of himself, and then dies.

Awful demonstration of how brutal survival can be in nature.....


(Photo data: All with GH2. Photo 1: 100-300mm, photos 2, 6, 7 with the Yashica ML 135mm f2.8, photos 3,4,5,8 with Yashica ML 35mm f2.8)

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2
If you believe there are incorrect tags, please send us this post using our feedback form.
Flat view
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum PPrevious NNext WNext unread UUpvote SSubscribe RReply QQuote BBookmark MMy threads
Color scheme? Blue / Yellow