Of Geese & Goslings

Why does it fall so heavily to ducks and geese to feed the rest of nature’s hungry kingdom?

Goslings! Their location on the beach was surprising, but now it all made sense.

For weeks prior, two adult Canada geese had been carrying on loudly from atop several very tall, brush-covered promontories, roughly eroded vestiges of an ancient volcano. From a taller lookout nearby where I could glass down on them with binoculars, I had seen eagles circle and even on occasion land very close to the honkers, which protested loudly but didn’t budge. And now I knew why.

The Canadas had hatched a brood in what I would consider a terrible location: flightless hatchlings lucky enough to survive the eagles’ interest would face a precipitous fall of at least 100 feet to reach the rocky beach below. While it was grand to discover the goose and gander caring for two adorably cute goslings, I realized that two meant four or five or six others had not survived the daunting challenges their parents had set for them — not a great ratio of success.

But paddling about in tide pools filled with fresh water from a stream flowing across the beach toward the salty ocean beyond, the proud parents seemed unperturbed in the slightest. Leaving only me, I suppose, to wonder how it falls so heavily to ducks and geese to produce cavalcades of young, only to see most of them disappear, one by one, to feed the rest of nature’s hungry wild kingdom.

Notwithstanding my existential misgivings, these quixotic creatures certainly made for yet another beautiful day on Nature’s Coast.

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