This fall somebody put two fake plastic swans on the little pond at Schiller Park. Since the pond already is teeming with real waterfowl, you could reasonably ask why some fake swans got tossed into the mix. My understanding is that they are supposed to discourage other migrating birds — specifically, those loud-squawking, ever-crapping, aggressive Canadian geese — from landing and fouling the area. Swans and Canadian geese apparently are mortal enemies from way back.
From a distance the swans are relatively realistic looking. The two of them even have different postures. But the illusion of real swans is totally lost when the pond freezes over, as happened recently, and the swans get frozen into immobility.
And yet . . . the Canadian geese still seem to be avoiding the pond, even after the swans have been exposed as fakes. Maybe Canadian geese, like most bullies, just aren’t that smart.
Springtime is the time for hatchlings at the Schiller Park pond. Today I noticed three new goslings being chaperoned by the entire flock of resident Canadian geese. The adult geese are loud, obnoxious, constantly crapping pains in the behind, but their fuzzy, tumbling offspring are cute as the dickens.
It’s spring, so of course we’ve got hatchlings at the Schiller Park pond. A family of Canadian geese has a brood of four goslings who have been strutting their stuff, to the delight of their proud and protective parents and passersby alike.
The brown goslings are almost unbearably cute, and their tumbling and waddling as they follow Mom and Dad around is fun to watch. Soon they’ll be losing their downy coats and will emerge as full-grown Canadian geese — one of the most aggressive, loud-honking, crap-anywhere-and-everywhere, obnoxious species of birds that you find around these parts.
I prefer them at this stage.
As the windblown snow was pelting down this morning, I passed a gaggle of Canadian geese that had decided to camp on the fairway of number 4 North and just endure the storm. Normally they’d be on the nearby pond, but it’s been completely iced over for months and apparently was unsuitable as a landing zone.
The geese seemed comfortable enough when I walked by. They waddled around, primped their feathers, plumped down onto the ground, and squawked their lungs out. They must have gotten tired of getting bombarded by the pellets of snow, however, because by the time I made the turn and was heading for home I heard their full-throated call up in the air and saw their familiar airborne V formation headed east.
I’ve got news for them — conditions aren’t any better in Pittsburgh.
It’s late fall, and in New Albany that means dealing with the annual migration of the reviled Canadian geese.
We’ve had gaggles of geese moving through New Albany for weeks now. You hear them before you see them. The brassy honking draws your attention, and then you see the familiar V-shaped flying wedge in the sky. The geese follow the leader to the pond on number 5 North, where they inevitably tussle with the swan. Geese and swans don’t get along, and when the geese land they stick to grassy areas and enter the pond only when the swan is at the opposite end.
Does any other creature have such a huge chasm between appearance and actuality? Canadian geese are noble looking, with their black necks and white-slashed heads — but in person they are loud, annoying poop machines who leave the ground coated with disgusting droppings. It’s always a relief when the last gang heads south for the winter.