She - for in my mind one who behaves as this has to be a she - has been a major trouble-maker since she first appeared on the scene - or at least drew attention to herself through her totally obnoxious behavior.
I refuse to give her a name. That would imply a dignity I will not acknowledge. And - truth now - while I find my life here idyllic, if I had a gun I would make short work of this She.
I have been watching in amazement as one goose chose to build her nest totally in the open on what is called Gazebo Island. Closest to the house, it can be reached by footbridge allowing for many pleasant hours in the screened and electrified gazebo. Between there and me is a narrow inlet which has been great for launching tippy canoe or kayak. One can hardly get wet when upset.
This year, however, boating is on hold and the bridge barricaded by screen and wire so that the nesting mom can have all the safety we can provide.
Her danger comes instead from the water. Specifically from the attack goose.
Day after day I have watched this goose race or fly in to unseat the nester. By now Ma leaves as soon as she sees the fury approaching. The attack may come from the water circling the island, from the other (far) side of the island itself, or from shore, immediately below my window.
She will arrive by whatever means.
By the time her approach is completed, the nesting mother is long gone, usually chased over to the shore. There she remains, pretty well out of my sight.
Now the charade begins. Fury makes a perfunctory examination of the eggs which may involve only a close eyeballing though I've also watched her touching them with her beak. After that she shows no further interest in the eggs or nest.
What She wants is possession of the island and what She wants, She gets. She may easily spend the next hour grazing there. I don't imagine that grass tastes any better but her point is made and she'll stay as long as she wishes which of course leaves the eggs uncovered and unprotected.
Eventually I suppose her antics bore even her. She leaves and Ma is back in minutes, checking her kids-to-be, plucking more down from her breast and ultimately resuming her position on the nest. All is well - until another attack starts the cycle all over again.
What, one must ask now, of the gander? Does this defenseless goose not have a mate?
Well, she does. But she chose poorly for he is of little use to her now. He swims in the mid-lake (often even farther from her nest) and watches without emotion (OK, without moving a feather) as the attack takes place.
Then he will swim over to shore to offer apparent comfort to his mate. They remain together until the coast is cleared and Ma is able to get back to her nesting job. Then he's off again.
Often, to my even greater dismay, he'll come up on shore where corn is strewn for the taking. There he'll eat or rest - in the much-too-close company of that nasty She.
This triangle fascinates me. Geese, I've always been told, mate for life.
At least they're supposed to.
Is She last year's girlfriend trying to oust a replacement? I believe I did read that it could be a possibility. Still, it's Mr. Not-So-Trueheart who should be fighting to protect the eggs - his eggs - if not the nest or nester herself.
How will it play out? Have the eggs been sufficiently protected from exposure that they can hatch in time?
It won't be too much longer before I have answers. Some answers.
Susan Crossett is a Cassadaga resident. Send comments to email@example.com