Geese at El Paso Country Club

Geese enjoy the cool water at El Paso Country Club

Until recently my preferred sight of a Canadian goose was over the gold bead at the end of my 12 gauge, leading the bird by about 15 feet.

That began to change a year or so ago when a flock of honkers settled in on the El Paso Country Club golf course. But before I totally disappoint coworkers and colleagues by not pounding the doom and gloom news drum, let’s goose them a little with a brief summary of the top news.

Here goes: “Things bad. Could get worse.” That pretty well sums up the current situation, don’t you think?

Now back to what I would rather write about – Canadian geese. This flock didn’t just land, they act like they have title to the place and, so far, show no signs of moving on.

What astounds me is that you can walk up to most any of them and the reaction is to turn that long neck and give you the curious eye. But they rarely retreat. In fact my friend Rick Garibay has carried an extra sandwich or burrito, which they seem to appreciate, and they have no problems taking it out of his hand.

And they are multiplying. One pair of geese is shepherding five goslings – fat little fuzz balls who never get very far from mom.

The goose family seems to have taken up residence between the No. 8 green and the No. 9 tee box (see photo).

For a time we wondered if the little ones had disappeared or fallen victim to the wiley coyote occasionally spotted on the course. But, if you watched, a tiny head would pop up through the mothers wing feathers.

Even with the goslings gathered around, the adult pair makes no move to leave when approached within a few feet. They apparently got the memo that people there mean them no harm.

Last Sunday both adults and the five little ones were in one of the ponds on the course and it was pretty clear mom and dad were trying to teach the youngsters to fly.

With great commotion mom and dad would flap their wings, slapping water, but never moving very far from the little ones. So far, the kiddos have not gotten the message. They have, however, learned to move around in the water and some of the spunkier ones are ducking under.

As the weather has turned warmer all of the geese on the course – and there must be 20 of them although they are mostly found in pairs now, are more often hunkered in the shade. Quite understandable when you think about it – like wearing a goose down jacket you can’t remove.

In retrospect we probably haven’t done this flock any favors by treating them so well. The next humans they run into just might be hungry.

So that’s my take on geese. Now, wasn’t that better than opining on the latest COVID-19 count?

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(1) comment

WTB3

Buenas tardes Tomas,

I grew up on the fairways of EPCC and also caught a lot of fish in the ditches and ponds -- until then head pro Jack Harden made the ponds "Off Limits" to my bud, Steve McNutt and me. I also hunted the upper valley which was outside of the city limits in those days and the river levees were readily accessible. Great memories! Also, I've seen many "Canada Geese" -- BUT -- "ther-ain't-no such-a-thang" as a "Canadian Goose" -- did enjoy your article and picture!!

Best regards,

Tomas Blackwell

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