As this was a new location for the nest and I noticed someone else out by the nest earlier in the day taking pictures, when I left work for the day, with neither adult or baby geese in sight, I ambled toward the nest. Stupid me. Inside was a gosling, floundering about on its back. I thought "Oh no!" and walked away. I got to the gate of the patio and stopped and thought "Well, those geese won't be back. They never come back after they've left with the babies." and "That gosling in the nest is going to die. I can't let it die alone." I quickly searched for information on what to feed goslings. It seemed like something I could figure out and make do with what I had at home. So home the little guy came for some gosling hospice. I was totally prepared for it to die, expected it.
I wasn't prepared for it to live. Flourish even. Here's the secret: Grape Nuts. Yep, I fed Pat, as it needed an androgenous name, the hardest breakfast cereal on the plant, smashed down to littler pieces and softened in water. Also, plenty of fresh water. I held it a lot that first night and tried to make it a little box of newspaper and fluff and trained a task lamp on it for extra warmth. Leo seems to be over me bringing in random animals. He gave Pat a few sniffs and then ignored me. Lily was far more interested. Lily who sits at the window in the mornings and makes cheeping noises to lure the birds closer because they would make such nice, tasty snacks (someday I will tape her doing this because I find it very amusing). She circled the box at night. She watched avidly as Pat cheeped and tottered.
So Pat got stronger and started walking and being able to right itself when it fell over on its back. I could feel feathers coming in under the fluff. By Tuesday night I had pulled out an old carpet that I was planning to get rid of for Pat to hang out on when it wasn't in the box. I wanted it to strengthen its walking and jumping skills. I tried to keep Lily away but trusted that she wasn't going to eat it. Pat cheeped and chattered and tried to follow me when I wandered away to the back of the apartment. I learned to wrap something I wasn't planning on keeping around it when I held it. Baby geese poop just like the adults. I think Pat just hatched a few days later than the rest and wasn't ready to go when the rest of the goslings were so it got left behind.
Clearly Pat needed a new home, one with other geese. It is illegal to have a wild animal (with a few exceptions, like pigeons) here and few rescue places are interested in taking in a common goose so it was up to me to find a goose family with goslings about the same age as Pat. Yesterday I walked around by the river and found just one goose family but the goslings had a good week on mine. This morning Pat and I loaded up the car with my adult goose distraction kit, an old english muffin, grape nuts, bulgar wheat, and went looking again. I did find a family with similar sized little ones so I went back to get Pat and inserted it through the fence whilst throwing bits of english muffin at the adults. Off it tottered, right to the other geese. There was no immediate killing of strange young which seems to be a possibility and, when the family wandered off a bit but Pat didn't immediately follow, one of the adults seemed to notice and slowed down to make sure it did. So I am going to call it shiny and good and successful.
Yes, I got a bit teary.
And now I know to not look in the nest. Never again.