Saturday, July 10, 2010

Shades of grey

At the college where I work there is a pond. Canada geese live around the pond year round. There is also a big white goose that lives there. He has big orange feet and an orange beak, in stark contrast to the numerous grey/black Canada geese. I feel sorry for this white goose because there are no other geese like him around. He's big, kind of fat and cannot fly, unlike the Canada geese. I think he is classified as a domestic greylag goose. Greylags are native to Eurasia and were historically raised for meat. According to this website, the greylag males are white with orange beaks and feet.

Anyway, I've noticed that for the last couple of years, the Greylag goose has been like a "good uncle" to a mated pair of Canada geese. He always helps the pair out by babysitting and watching out for the goslings. But this year, after seeing the goslings down by the pond, I think he was up to something more...a motley crew:
This is dad:
And this is mom:

This Cornell website confirms that Greylag geese can mate with Canada geese.

There are 5 goslings. All are different shades of grey:

I think they are quite beautiful.


heather @ what's blooming this week said...

I agree, Jackie, these are quite beautiful. Another example of the beautiful offspring of an "interracial" relationship.

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

What a great story, Jackie! A happy family!

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

What an interesting assortment of geese. I suppose you needn't feel sorry for him now, he seems to have managed to fit in quite well :D

Meredith said...

The plumage of the offspring did turn out rather well; didn't it? I had no idea the different geese could mate. I wonder, can the young fly? Will they feel the call in fall, or stay put with Dad, in something like a joint custody agreement?

a tasteful garden said...

those shots take me back to my childhood. we'd spend our weekends playing around the duck pond. the gaggles of geese and swans were incredible. thanks for sharing!

Stefaneener said...

How nice for him! Lovely geese, although I do get tired of their leavings in municipal parks.