Back in May last year I reported on a pair of Canada Geese that were raising six goslings on the lake at Woodhill Farmhouse. The goslings were, however, not their own offspring. Without knowing it the Canada geese were raising two White Embden, two Greylag and two Chinese geese as part of a clever plan to reintroduce farmyard geese to the lake and to discourage Canada geese from moving in. Canada geese are very territorial and once settled will act aggressively towards other geese and ducks who they see as invading their territory. They can be a terrible nuisance and upset the natural balance of the lake. So in May last year the eggs of a breeding pair of Canada geese, who had moved onto the lake, were replaced with the six farmyard goose eggs. The theory behind the plan was that, being excellent parents, the Canada geese would play surrogates to the farmyard goslings, raise them well and then in the autumn when the Canada geese fly off on their annual migration the flightless farmyard geese would be left to guard the lake.
The theory worked. The Canada geese looked after the goslings throughout the summer and then left on their migration in October. The Embden, Greylags and Chinese geese, now fully grown, are all doing very well and are playing the role of lake security guards with great enthusiasm. It seems very likely that any visiting Canada geese will be sent on their way when they arrive in the Spring.