Hilarious story about a goose who is afraid of heights!

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NOBLE
SILVER LAKE, ROCHESTER, MN
2006




We visited Silver Lake late in September, 2006 and the first migrants had just arrived. When we were there in April, there were only about a hundred geese and they seemed reserved.

Things were very different in September. There were at least 500 geese at the park. A large flock, numbering maybe 150 geese and 100 mallards, were the Official Greeters to the park, standing around the parking lot waiting to be fed!

We were feeding THE GREETERS when we came across this goose. When we first spotted him, he was sitting (photo below) among other geese. We could see, even from a distance of about ten feet, that something was wrong with his bill.



When he saw us with our bag of grain, he came right up for food.

Part of the top of his bill was missing and we could see his exposed tongue. We couldn't imagine how he could have lost a part of his bill. What could possibly have happened to cause something so terrible? That he was alive was amazing because it was so hard for him to eat. It was incredibly difficult for him to pick food up off the ground and the other geese got to the food so quickly he was left without any. However, he was no wallflower and almost got into a fight with another goose who was wrestling for food. If food ended up on the ground, he had to push the food around with his lower bill until the food became lodged against a rock or weed, and he'd then be able to somehow scoop it up. He preferred to take food from our hand, for obvious reasons, and preferred bread over grain.

Earl began calling him NO-BILL but we changed that to NOBLE because despite his handicap, he was proud and brave. He was a noble goose. He behaved as if he had absolutely no handicap and he didn't allow his handicap to bring him down.

Even though we saw Noble only twice during our trip, we will always remember him and his spunky attitude toward life. He touched us with his fierce determination to survive and his courage to face his disabilities against all odds.

DECEMBER 18-24, 2006 UPDATE: I spent a week at Silver Lake. There had to be at least 15,000 geese and the Official Greeters' party had increased to at least 500 Canada geese, mallards, one friendly greenish black domestic duck and a very talkative domestic goose! I looked for Noble within the group and elsewhere throughout Silver Lake Park but didn't see him. Naturally, it's difficult to spot him among 15,000 geese. He might have been there but I didn't see him. I missed him and was sad that I had to leave without seeing him again.











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