Finny has finally been accepted into the flock. Not the whole flock, but a part of it.

His brother, Shamus, who had been attacking him from inside the fence as Finny walked around the exterior, finally welcomed him into the pen. I guess Shamus was just showing Finny who’s boss.

But that’s OK. I am so glad that he has some feathered friends.

The original flock, however, still doesn’t accept him. But apparently, Finny has gained some goosely backbone, and whenever one of the Toulouse or Sebastopol geese go after him, he returns the attack.

He’ll be a year old next week.

Hard to believe that this helpless little gosling, who was kicked out of the nest and walked all over by both his siblings and the adult geese, not only survived, but has grown into a gorgeous combination of his gray Toulouse mother and white Sebastopol father.

He still lets me pick him up, stroke his long neck and soft back and will sometimes climb into my lap when I sit in the grass.

So now I have two flocks in the same place.

Finny, Shamus, Jessie and Missy the Duck make up one flock, and Sal, Sue, Seb, Sam, Sammie and Dufus make up the second.

It’s always interesting to watch them respond, react and talk to each other.

They let me know when the wild turkeys are roosting in the nearby maple stand and alert us to other wild critters. If they’re out grazing in the yard, they are better protectors than any dog could be. Our golden retriever, Dusty, still seeks shelter from my husband or me when he and the geese are outside at the same time.

A poster gift from my family hung on the front of the garage says it all: “Premises protected by guard geese!”

Although Shamus may have “told” him that I’m not really a goose and that he should stay away from me, Finny is still my good friend. He realizes that he has the best of both worlds.

When he wants to get out of the pen, he simply stands at the gate and waits for me to let him out. When he wants back in, he stands outside and waits for me to open it. And he doesn’t spend most nights out with the other geese, either.

More often than not, he signals that he wants to return to the top stair in the garage. Once there, he wants me to feed him by hand — and he not-so-subtly communicates this desire by pecking my hand or pulling my hair.

This is no silly goose. He knows he’ll come in and that I’ll feed and pet him. He even makes sure he has his own food and water dishes.

But when he’s ready, he can be with his own friends.

Best of all is the unique welcoming I get each morning as I head to the garage to let him out. It’s almost like he “hugs” me with his wings and makes an unusual high-pitched call that he uses just to greet me. I’ve never heard it at any other time.

I have to admit that it makes me very happy.

Geese are far more intelligent than most people give them credit for. They have their own calls that mean certain things; they know who’s their friend and who is not; and they have their own special food preferences.

Of course, many of their favorite foods are growing in my garden. So, besides getting all the vegetables and herbs planted, we are building what we hope is a goose-proof fence. Since they don’t generally fly, I expect it might work.

So now that Finny — or Finnegan as he’s formally known — is an adult gander, my next hope is for little Finnys.

We’ll see. He’s still working on that with a couple of the young female geese.

Then maybe I can become Grandmother Goose.


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