The Adopted White-Front

Ever since I returned to Colorado, flocks of Canada geese have been grazing near the entrance to our driveway and, over the past few days, they have worked their way onto the farm.  Finding plenty of forage on our "lawn" and pastures, they are reciprocating by leaving behind plenty of natural fertilizer.

Yesterday, when I returned from Barr Lake, one flock was up near the house and among its members was a juvenile greater white-fronted goose.  Its orange bill, legs and feet indicated that it was from the Greenland population and its lack of a white forehead and black ventral barring revealed that it was a first winter bird.  Significantly smaller than its Canadian companions, it followed them across the property and, when the matriarch signaled it was time to leave, the white-front fell in line.

Perhaps the juvenile white-front was orphaned by waterfowl hunters or became lost during the autumn migration; maybe this "home alone" goose was snoozing when his family moved on to the south.  Whatever the reason for his presence in the Canadian flock, they seem to have given him a warm reception.  One wonders how many humans would be so kind; after all, he doesn't look like those who took him in.