7 Reasons to Act Like Geese

by Larry Hehn on August 29, 2010

mother gooseLast year a couple of Canada geese built a nest on the lawn outside my office. The nest quickly became home to six large eggs. Sadly, the father was struck and killed by a car just a few days after the eggs were laid. Then a nosy human decided to inspect the eggs while the mother goose had briefly strayed from the nest. When she returned to a disturbed nest and the lingering scent of intruders, the mother instinctively abandoned the nest and the eggs. They never hatched.

This year, another couple of geese chose the same lawn as their nesting place. This time the nest survived. On April 27 a new set of six goose eggs all hatched. Mother goose was very protective of her offspring. She hissed at me twice as I approached with a camera. However, I did manage to snap the above shot of her with the brand new goslings before they wandered off together in search of water.

It was inspiring to witness the mother faithfully and patiently sitting on her nest for four weeks, keeping the eggs warm and safe. In fact there are many attributes of these geese that I find noble and worth emulating. In researching them I found seven really good reasons to act like a Canada goose:

  1. Canada geese stay with the same mate for life (if one mate dies, the other will find a new mate).
  2. While their eggs are incubating, the male goose stays near the nest and protects his family.
  3. Both mother and father goose play an active role in raising their children.
  4. By flying together in an aerodynamic V-formation, communities of geese enable themselves to fly at least 70% further than they could if flying on their own.
  5. When the goose at the point of the V-formation tires, another goose will take its place and allow it to rotate further back in the formation.
  6. Geese further back in the V-formation honk their encouragement to those in the lead.
  7. When a goose gets sick or injured and falls out of formation, two other geese stay with that goose and tend to it until it either recovers or dies.

I can’t help but wonder how different our lives would be if we all lived by the same principles of loyalty, responsibility, compassion, encouragement and community as these graceful birds.

I’ve been told that geese tend to return to the same nesting ground every year. If that’s the case I’m already looking forward to next year, and once again receiving an annual lesson in living from this rather unlikely source.

What life lessons have you learned from unlikely sources?

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Sue Lawrence October 15, 2010 at 1:48 pm

Thank you for a beautiful reminder of the goodness that surrounds us.

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Larry Hehn October 16, 2010 at 9:27 pm

My pleasure, Sue!

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j4man October 25, 2010 at 9:45 pm

Excellent Post – I enjoyed the observations. Thanks for sharing it!
My recent post Elephants- Leadership- and Life

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Larry_Hehn October 25, 2010 at 10:02 pm

Thanks, Jim. Your post on elephants is outstanding!

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