Monday duck report (with an interloper!)

I hadn’t seen Trixie or Norton for three days, and was beginning to get worried. But they showed up at today’s afternoon feeding—at least I think it was Trixie and Norton. Norton appeared to have a scar or slight wound on his chest (maybe it’s just the feather pattern), and now Trixie looks as if she’s missing toes on both feet. I am deeply confused. You tell me: is this light spot the result of some inter-duck fracas?

Trixie is lovely, as usual (if it’s her), but look at the feet. Are there now two toes missing? She also didn’t eat much of her corn, though she chowed down on mealworms. She’s still a bit skittish, and to my eye looks a bit plumper. Is that food or eggs?

How many toes? I’m pretty sure this is Trixie because both ducks came immediately when I whistled.

But here’s the big news. Unbeknownst to me, a huge behemoth was lurking in the pond! And when he saw the food, out he climbed to help himself. Needless to say, Trixie and Norton waddled away. Meet 88K!

Now I don’t know if 88K is male or female, but it’s big and it HONKS LOUDLY. It also displaced my ducks, but I managed to herd them into the pond for a healthy helping of mealworms. I like Canada geese, but I want this one to go away, and will avoid feeding it.  I guess I should report its neck collar to someone, and I hope a reader can tell me where.

Note that its eyes are set lower relative to the bill than are the ducks’ eyes. And that collar looks like it’s constricting the neck.

Oy, am I confused! It’s no picnic caring for waterfowl, I tell you. I don’t know what to do about 88K, either.

In the meantime, my squirrels are getting fed several times a day, and they like to have a drink after they eat their seeds and peanuts:


  1. Rhonda
    Posted April 2, 2018 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Here’s a link to a Sun-Times article from last spring about reporting bands to The one in the photo looks just like 88K’s neck band.

  2. busterggi
    Posted April 2, 2018 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    ” I don’t know what to do about 88K, either.”

    Invest wisely.

  3. mikeyc
    Posted April 2, 2018 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    The banded bird can be reported here;

    • Posted April 2, 2018 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

      I just did it; I think they’ll send me a Goose Report giving me data on 88K!

      • Posted April 2, 2018 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

        A Canadian site? It reports data to the U.S. Geological Survey, a part of the U.S. Department of the Interior. The website itself is hosted by the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel MD.

        I don’t know why your bird can’t be reported there. Sorry for the confusion.

        • Posted April 2, 2018 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

          whooops. What just happened? I swear I thought I was responding to a comment that said it was a Canadian site.

          I’m so confused. Please delete my response. I’ll go back to lurking…..

          • Posted April 2, 2018 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

            No, it’s my fault. I tried to report it there initially but it rejected my report. I thought that’s because it was a Canadian site, but then I did it carefully and it worked. Thanks!

  4. W.T. Effingham
    Posted April 2, 2018 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    I’ve seen joggers go out of their way to stir grazing geese. On more than one occasion a goose would swing around and blindside the blindsider with enough force to seem like a mass of 88 kilos.

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted April 2, 2018 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

      There is a video now making the rounds of a dude talking smack to a Canadian goose while recording the encounter on his cell phone.
      It does not go well for him. Wish I could find it.

  5. Posted April 2, 2018 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    That neck band seems kind of cruel. Who tracks Canada geese this way?

  6. Randall Schenck
    Posted April 2, 2018 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    The missing toe parts could be turtles…

  7. alexandra Moffat
    Posted April 2, 2018 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    I have worried for years about neck banding, locator radio collars etc. Knowing that collars left on for long times can accumulate matted hair underneath which can lead to skin problems and possible infection, I wonder if the frequent use is inhumane in some cases. Depending on climate, type of hair or fur. Such a possibility has never been addressed by the community of biologists, naturalists who accomplish such banding, collaring, that I am aware of. Can anybody add information on this?
    The goose certainly needs to have that collar removed and the “perp” needs to explain.
    The duck are absolutely lovely, specially as they are free of restrictive apparel. Leg banding seems less likely to cause harm except to the extent they may get caught on small branches, protuberances.

    • Posted April 2, 2018 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

      Neck collars are used precisely because they have such a low impact on the birds – they can be readily identified from distance with binoculars. This means the birds do not need to be captured to collect data on them.

      I am surprised by your comment that “…the community of biologists, naturalists who accomplish such banding…” might not have considered the impact these banding strategies might have on the animals they tag. I know several such people who do this kind of work (it’s how I know about the neck bands). I’ll be sure to ask them what they’ve done to assure the animal’s well-being, but I am quite surge that extensive work goes into designing and refining these tags so as to minimize the impact on the animals. Indeed, for some sub-species of geese who spend a significant time each year in the high arctic, a kind of bib is used instead of a neck collar to reduce problems associated with icing. That alines suggests to me that someone, at least, is thinking about it.

      • Posted April 2, 2018 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

        “…quite surge…”? “That alines…”?


        “…quite sure…”, “That alone…”

        stoopid autocowreck

        It’s safer lurking.


      • Sarah
        Posted April 2, 2018 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for explaining why the bird has a neck collar *and* a band on its leg. I have never heard of this kind of collar before. It makes the goose look like something left in a cloakroom.

  8. Simon Hayward
    Posted April 2, 2018 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    Is that squirrel drinking out of an old IHC or H&E dipping jar? I hope it was alcohol and not xylenes 🙂

  9. Posted April 2, 2018 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    This is turning into a quite a drama. My bet is that 88K is known to Canadian authorities and is on the run.

    • Sarah
      Posted April 3, 2018 at 8:23 am | Permalink

      Please, this is a site devoted to biology. It was on the lamb.

      • Diane G.
        Posted April 3, 2018 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

        Wingin’ it.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted April 3, 2018 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

      No doubt traveling down Illinois I-88.

      • busterggi
        Posted April 4, 2018 at 9:39 am | Permalink

        Stopping at every piano bar on route.

        • Sarah
          Posted April 4, 2018 at 9:58 am | Permalink

          To have a shot of Grey Goose vodka, no doubt.

  10. nwalsh
    Posted April 2, 2018 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    I’m guessing 88K was a bad boy at some time in his past.

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted April 2, 2018 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

      We could call it ‘Adeeyate Kay’.

      • Brian B
        Posted April 2, 2018 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

        88 Keys on a piano. How about a name related to that? 🙂

        • Diane G.
          Posted April 3, 2018 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

          Or musicians. Johen; Wolfgander; Goosetav…

    • Posted April 3, 2018 at 7:47 am | Permalink

      Perhaps a member of the Crazy 88.

  11. ladyatheist
    Posted April 2, 2018 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    They can look “bigger” if their feathers are a bit puffed up. (our “goosebumps” are actually related to bird feathers fluffing up due to cold or emotional distress)

  12. James Walker
    Posted April 2, 2018 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    I hate Canada geese (I can because I’m Canadian :-P). Nasty birds and they poop all over the place.

    • Posted April 2, 2018 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

      It bugs me when people refer to them as Canadian geese.

      • Lee Beringsmith
        Posted April 2, 2018 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

        I was corrected by a birder friend when I made the mistake of calling them Canadian geese. He told me that i could only call them that if they had a little red maple leaf on their wings, otherwise they are Canada geese.

    • Christopher
      Posted April 2, 2018 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

      Funny, I feel the same about people. At least geese have the decency to be beautiful.

    • John Dentinger
      Posted April 2, 2018 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

      Please stop saying almost-nice things about these horrible feathered rats.

  13. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted April 2, 2018 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    Norton might just have a shed feather.

  14. allison
    Posted April 2, 2018 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    Looks like 88K also has a band on his right leg

  15. Posted April 2, 2018 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    Life is not easy around these birds, indeed!

  16. Posted April 2, 2018 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    I still think Trixie and Honey are one and the same.

  17. Roger
    Posted April 2, 2018 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    Canadian geese indeed are huge. They waddle around our back yard from time to time.

  18. Posted April 2, 2018 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    The most impolite Canadians

  19. M. T. MacPhee
    Posted April 3, 2018 at 1:53 am | Permalink

    We had a d*g named 88. It was his cage number at the pound. Below the number was a red tag that meant this was his last day. Home he came. We used 88 as a temporary working name until we could figure out what kind of dog he was; he was obviously distinguished, but did not look like any of the pictures in any of the books. Finally we determined that he was a Bouvier Des Flanders, but had uncroped ears and an undocked tail. But by that time, he was “88”. And I know you won’t believe this, but he topped out at 88 pounds. No. Really.

  20. Posted April 3, 2018 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    My university campus had geese on it and they used to get quite aggressive during spring, for obvious reasons.

    If you were walking along a path and were confronted by a goose hissing and with outstretched wings, it was a sign to go another way. At least, it was until somebody tried emulating the goose. He stretched out both arms horizontally and it was enough to have a dramatic effect. The goose would immediately back down. I can only assume that stretching out your arms makes you look like a really big goose that is not to be messed with.

  21. Posted April 3, 2018 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    The Canada geese infestation is only getting worse in Colorado.

  22. Posted April 3, 2018 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if that neck band might interfere with the goose’s ability to swallow large pieces of food.

  23. Posted April 4, 2018 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Lots of beautiful (if poop-arific) dinosaurs today!

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