Wednesday, February 25, 2009

duck, duck, gOOOse

The other day at work some people told me about a wonderful little nature oasis in Kalispell, called Woodland Park. I had been told to buy a loaf of bread, because there were ducks and geese to feed. So, with a loaf of whole wheat french bread under my arm, I headed off to Woodland Park.

The park was pretty, with snow and trees. There were some really awesome hills that would be great to sled down. I walked up one path, along the frozen water, wondering how there could be ducks and geese there. As I walked back to my truck, I heard what sounded like ducks-a-quackin'. I took another path, following the noise. There I saw an open body of water, with hundreds of ducks and geese on it. More like two or three hundred (who could count, they moved around so much).

I walked up to the waters edge, where I was approached by a female goose. She seemed friendly enough, and sure was not afraid of me. I hand fed her some of the bread. When the other geese and some of the ducks saw her eating, I was suddenly the most popular girl in the park. Most of the geese that I hand fed were cool, they kept their beaks away from my fingers. But, don't you know, there is one in every bunch and that one beaked my fingers too many times. So I stopped feeding her. The original female would wait patiently for her next piece of bread, she looked at me as if she knew something about human beings. Something most humans don't even know.

I took pictures. I even used my digital camera to make a video. When I looked down with my camera, there was a gander, taking a gander at me. I think he was wondering what the heck I was doing. What the big deal was. He probably figured if you've seen one goose or duck, you've seen them all.

I've since heard some interesting stories about the Spring time goings on with the ducks in Woodland Park. Stories of duck rapes, and female ducks dying from too much male duck attention. So, although I'll go back, I don't think it will be in the Spring. Okay, maybe once.

A woman at work told me about a time she took her son to the park, and she was chased back to her car, by 25 ducks and geese. She said she even had red marks on her legs from the Hitchcockian birds attacking her. She said they made her so upset, she dropped her keys. Then she was afraid a duck or goose would get the keys and fly away. I guess it has been long enough ago that she can laugh about it now. So, I laughed (at) with her.


Fram said...

Let's see, mallards in the top two photos, a female and then a male. Bottom photo shows a snow for sure. The other might be a blue or a Canada. I cannot see enough to be certain. Probably a blue, since they hang out with snows.

Geese generally mate for life, you know. Geese are special, and never should be hunted, I think.

its_me_in_montana said...

Hey Fram,

Montana says "hi" back. I'm sorry the pictures aren't clearer, I was lazy and used MS Paint to put them in a column like they are. Paint diminishes the quality of the image. I am working on improving the way they are on there.

The female and the male were mates. When I took the picture they were together, I cropped it to show a male and female separately (the duck, duck, goose thing).

I was aware that the ducks mate for life. I worked for a suburban Chicago police department many years ago. Late one night one of the officers came upon a male duck, grieving over his deceased mate. She had been hit by a car. He would not leave her side. We ended up calling the Brookfield Zoo and asking what we could do, so the male would not be hit too. They recommended covering the female, so the male couldn't see her anymore. The officer did, and the male eventually flew away. A wonderful story of love.

Thanks for stopping by.