Tuesday, April 14, 2009

One Feather Up is highly excitable

In direct contradiction to the instructions of Scary Neighbor Annette*, I have given names to the geese in the condo complex. (Well, to four of them, since the others don't really stick around.) I have no idea if they're boys or girls or a couple of each (which, given my limited understanding both of the Circle of Life and of Where Baby Geese Come From, would seem to make sense), so I've given them gender-neutral, Native American names:

One Feather Up is the ringleader. His/Her name is One Feather Up because one of his/her tail feathers sticks up. If I was sure it was a boy, I'd have named him Alfalfa, because the feather sticks straight up like Alfalfa's hair in The Little Rascals. OFU is the most aggressive and protective (that is, the most flappy and hissy).

Pecks Meekly hangs out with One Feather Up. PM is a little smaller than OFU and got his/her name from the way he/she kind of defers to OFU when it's time to eat the grass, which drives Scary Neighbor Annette completely Over. The frakking. Edge. OFU gets to eat first, and PM comes in behind to get the remaining grasses. (Haha, to clarify, it's the grass-eating that makes Scary Neighbor Annette crazy, not the fact that Pecks Meekly has to wait.)

Waddles With Limp is kind of gimpy, but seems to have made it work. He/She is usually seen in the company of Honks Constantly, who will drive ME completely Over. The frakking. Edge. one of these days. The honking! My God, the honking! They're kind of like the Barney and Betty Rubble to OFU and PM's Fred and Wilma Flintstone -- bit players in recurring roles somewhat more frequent than Special Guest Stars. It's possible they live on the other side of the pond lake loch.

One Feather Up and Pecks Meekly definitely live somewhere right behind my condo, though. They've been around a lot lately, and when I opened the door to let some post-rain fresh air in today, OFU was all up in my face almost immediately -- and all I did was open the door! So I went back to do what I was doing and left OFU to feel like the victor vanquishing the intruder.

Milo, however, wasn't so willing to back down. He chose that exact moment to head over to the screen door to lie down. Which drew the ire of OFU who, earlier in the week, had cornered a squirrel on the fence between my and the next-door neighbor's patios because ... geese don't like squirrels, I guess? Who can say. All I know is OFU is very particular about who may and who may not be within a 5-foot radius at any given time. (May: Pecks Meekly. May Not: Anyone or anything else.)

I think I've worked out a kind of understanding with OFU and PM. When they get too crazy, I head out and show them how big I am, get them to move to the neighbor's patio, and then let OFU make a hissing/flapping maneuver -- you know, out of courtesy, so OFU can save face, er beak -- and I act sufficiently humbled and go inside. It's win-win. They stay over up in the neighbor's grill, and OFU feels like a good protector goose.

Until Scary Neighbor Annette comes around and starts messing with them.

* Although I have referred to the neighborhood association's jackbooted antiGooseite thuggery, I may never have referred directly to Scary Neighbor Annette, who is on some sort of G-Is-For-Geese V-Is-For-Vendetta. She destroys nests and/or eggs (whatever's permissible with whatever sort of permit she's told me they've secured) and encourages others to do so, as well.

While the origin of her rampant antiGooseism remains a mystery (Childhood goose trauma? Ornithophobia? General crazy?), it is clear that its fire still burns strong in her. She consistently complains about goose poop (which, because she claims it attracts other geese and encourages them to loiter, she collects and bags for garbage pick-up). She also believes a certain goose (One Feather Up, I'd guess, since he or she seems the most alpha), on her roof one day, saw Annette through the skylight (which she calls the "skyroof") and promptly (I'm quoting here) "specifically pooped on the skyroof to get me."


shouldhavezagged said...

Sounds like you have a nest with eggs near your condo. Not long now before you see little goslings walking around needing names. I can hardly wait for that!

Esmerelda said...

Geoff and I just watched The Parrots of Telegraph Hill--a documentary of a man who watches and befriends a flock of wild parrots on Telegraph Hill in San Francisco. Your post reminds me of his observations. We could make a documentary of you: The Geese of Arbor Glen (or wherever you live)

Anonymous said...

Never mind the geese. The picture you've painted of your neighbor is HILARIOUS. Seriously. I chuckled aloud at my desk.

And I NEVER chuckle aloud.

Anonymous said...

cuz Lisa

revizzy said...

Did you know my Husband was bit in the face and had his glasses broken by a goose when he was working security at target? Yea... Destroying their eggs only makes them more aggressive. Geese are mean!

But, I'm really commenting because we've got a pair of mallards who wander around our little patio sometimes. We named them Max and Molly Mallard. They like to eat hot dog buns. lol.

Scott S. Semester said...

See, this is why I think Scary Neighbor Annette has some sort of goose-related issue: she's cool with feeding the ducks. BUT NOT THE GEESE! (Emphasis hers, not mine.)

jss said...

Very nice write-up! Love the Indian (Native American) names! You really should stay away from your neighbor though - or find a way to sneak a bunch of geese into her condo. :-) Do you think you could find a giant goose outfit for Halloween? That would throw her over the edge!

revizzy said...

Hey, after the attack, my husband really DOES have a goose related issue. He has to restrain himself from running them over... He was slightly traumatized.. I tried to get him to see a therapist about it.. but he's afraid he'll seem silly if he goes in for a goose attack. lol

Scott S. Semester said...

If there's one thing I've learned in my 35 years, it's that whatever mental health thing you've got, there's like 100,000 other people with stuff like 100,000 times weirder. I say, bring on the Goose Therapy!

Maybe if I continue to communicate with One Feather Up and Pecks Meekly, I could become a Goose Whisperer.

Karla said...

This is when my nature knowledge comes in handy! Male geese are larger and generally more agressive to OFU (which sounds like some sort of rude university) is most certainly a male. Also, geese mate for life which means that PM is OFU's woman. Also, they return to the exact same spot every year when migrating. I do a whole lesson on having as much sense as a goose. They are a lot of lessons to be learned from a good goosing.