A Canada Goose

 The campus that houses the office building where I work is home to Canadian Geese and one of the first signs of spring is the return of the geese to the area. Canadian Geese mate for life and, having observed their behavior in the spring, I am convinced they renew their vows to one another every year too.

After their arrival they swoop and fly two-by-two in romantic dances. Sometimes they get cranky at being disturbed in a quiet moment together and two of them will honk loudly and insistently at another who comes too close to their chosen courting spot. In a few weeks they will build a nest and lay eggs.

There is a man-made lake on one side of my office building and the geese frolic in the water and sun themselves on the grassy slopes next to the lake. In a few months the banks of the river will be alive with little goslings like a family picnic area for geese.

The other day, I was taking a break from work and walking when I spotted a lone goose on the meadow side of the building. He sat alone on the edge of an ivy-covered ledge gazing over the grassy plain. On my second lap around the building he was standing in the same place, one foot lifted and tucked, so he appeared from a distance to have only one leg; still gazing out over the meadow.

I couldn’t help but consider the reason why this goose might be alone on the meadow side of the building when the rest of the geese were frolicking on the lake side. Perhaps his life-long mate did not return with him from the south this year? Perhaps something had happened to her during their time away?

On my next lap around, the goose had hopped off of the ledge and was standing on the sidewalk looking in the window of the office. Is he lonely? I wondered. Is he looking for company?  I felt sorry for him.

I returned to work but for the rest of the afternoon I was unable to get the goose out of my mind; a few hours later I had to go and check on him.

He was still there, alone, looking toward the window of the office building. There was something about his demeanor that made me want to go out and pat his head, put my arms around his slender neck and give him a hug to comfort him. I wanted to take him home with me. Silly, I chided myself. Yet I couldn’t get him out of my mind.
Later that evening I was compelled to Google the Canada Goose and learned one of the reasons a goose might be alone and separated from his flock is because he is mourning the loss of a mate. He needs time to process the loss before returning to his flock where perhaps (I hope) he will meet female goose who has also been left alone and together they will form a new family.

Despite the melancholy that fell over me as I considered the fate of this Canada Goose, I was pleased that I had allowed myself to slow down enough to step out of a routine day to consider his situation. It’s not the deadlines and projects that give my life meaning; it’s not accomplishments and accolades that fulfill me.

It’s the simplicity of taking time to observe a Canada Goose sitting alone on a ledge gazing out over a meadow that make my life rich.


I’m a writer, reader, and creative. I thought by now I’d have things figured out, but I keep coming up with more questions. I think that’s okay. I’m here most mornings pondering ordinary things and the thin places where faith intersects.
  1. I hope he finds a new mate soon….so sad….

  2. Oh, what a sad story. I feel for that gander!

    Your place of work sounds so beautiful. Especially during spring!

    1. It is a beautiful location, Janna. I’m blessed.

  3. My goodness, I’d want to hug him, too. That’s really amazing, isn’t it?

  4. His plight is such a metaphor for the disenfranchised among us.

    We have Canadian Geese nearby. Their signature honking & majestic flight style is so fun to take in. I love to watch them landing on the pond at Decoursey Park. I keep thinking they’ll splat all over the place, but they manage to touch down quite gracefully.

    Ahhh, the sweet things (and even the bittersweet things) that cause us to stop & ponder.


  5. Now I feel like crying.

  6. Hi, I found you on SheWrites! The Canadian Geese winter down here in Texas. Glad they’re back. Sad but sweet post.

  7. Rien ne pouvait opleve tenir at leurs moyens lorsqu’ils découvrent qu’ils souhaitent acquérir à simple seule determined. Celui-ci n’a pas l’attention some sort of ce lequel concerne l’argent. Andel plus personnes ayant fait podrrran démarquer certains autres, l’ensemble l’ordre en ces chaussures seront généralement très co?teux .

  8. i have a goose that showed up outside my yard yesterday he stays in between our cars he pecks at our tire an bumper he wont go any further he looks so sad an I cry I don’t no what to do

  9. As a goose-keeper I can testify that geese mourn and can show signs of depression and deep sadness. In time he will recover, hopefully find a new mate to have goslings with. The mating for life concept appeals to humans but is not in fact true for some geese who may have a new partner each year to keep the gene-stock healthy.

    1. Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Von! And thanks for clarifying the urban legend that geese mate for life. Hope to see you here again!

  10. There is a lone goose in my area and I’ve wondered why he/she was alone. Thanks for the insight. I hope he/she finds a mate soon.

    1. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, Raquel. I’ve hears conflicting stories about whether or not this is true since I posted this a few years ago. I still choose to believe this is fact though. I hope your goose finds a mate soon, too. It’s sad to see one alone when the others are in pairs, isn’t it?

  11. I have a goose that showed up over a week ago And he looks so sad I go out and feed him , I live in an residential area and to see a loan goose is not the usual site , we have also had two ducks that appeared and the 3 of them seemed to of formed there own family ,I am happy hear that the goose one day will fly away and hopefully find a new mate , with that being said few days ago three geese stopped by for a short visit , my people thoughts are they are looking for the loan goose ,but as luck would happen the loan goose was not here , thanks for listening

    1. Isn’t it a joy to watch nature unfold? Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Lynda.

      1. I’ve noticed a goose on a busy divided two way road, I noticed him or her this morning Monday June. 12 2017 and by the time I left work he was still there. 6pm eve. I want to help but he will get scared and walk into traffic. Or animal control or cops shoot it. So all I can do is pray that the Good Lord lays his hand on this little one and keeps him safe. The road he is on is Gratiot which if you drive 20 minutes down Gratiot you are in Detroit MI. I seen him stand and flap his wings. P.S. He looks lonely and scared.

  12. I’ve seen a goose showing the same behavior. He/she is alone even when there is a big group of geese in the area. I thought he might be injured because this morning he had one foot lifted, in the afternoon I saw him in the same area but he seemed fine, walking and eating some grass. I saw him again this evening, sitting alone. I was about to call a wildlife rehabilitator when I found your post. I’m really glad I found your blog, even thought it has been 6 years since you posted it!

  13. I google Canadian Goose alone too and found your post. There is a goose alone in our parking lot at work

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