May 19, 2011

Drama in the flock

Yesterday in the late afternoon I heard odd cries from the geese so I went to the back window to see what was going on. There was a baby goose lying on the ground, tummy up. It moved for a bit and then it died. I didn't see wounds; it was just dead.

The parents of the baby stood not far from it, calling out in shocked exclamation. Down by the pond I could see a ruckus working its way through the rest of the flock. They were all calling out in anger, surprise and grief. They cared about this baby. It was obvious.

The ruckus was focused on one bird. The flock was challenging their leader, Milo, my favorite bird. I think what happened is that he, as head of the flock, killed the baby. I saw him picking on the little guy in recent days, which makes me lean toward this theory. Well, that and the fact that the flock was going after him.

This baby was one of only two chicks that a couple produced this year, and this chick was the smallest of all the babies in any of the broods. I think that's the story right there. Milo, as leader of the flock, killed the baby because he thought it would be a detriment to the community. Maybe he believed it wouldn't survive the rigor of the annual migration -- I don't really know.

Milo and his wife Edna have seven babies. Theirs is the largest clutch (or is that word only for eggs?) and their babies hatched first, so they're larger than the other babies. The next couple have six. Who knows? Maybe they look down on small broods. Whatever it was, this poor little guy never had a chance. The loss was upsetting not only to the flock but to me. I liked him because he was small. Today, seeing the couple walk around with only their lone baby in tow is sad.

I hope Milo doesn't kill him too. 

Nature red in tooth and claw. The baby's body was completely eaten by crows within two hours of its death.


Artichoke Annie said...

Oh, my Keith, sorry you are having to witness all that. Nature can be quite cruel at times, at least by our human standards. Perhaps the little one was ill or had some malady other than being the runt of the litter and the leader was putting him out of his misery.

writenow said...

Thanks for your well-placed pity. It hurt to see this. However, the other little baby's doing fine this morning. I have hope for him. Cute little guy.