Thursday, April 05, 2012

Ducks and Geese

Canadian Goose
Wild Duck
When we first saw these two, they were swimming side-by-side like best buddies.  Then the duck stuck his head down into the water to get a snack, and the goose nonchalantly turned to go his own way.

Dabbling Duck
Dabbling ducks, like this one, reach into the water for food by 'up-ending.'  Their heads go down in the water, their tails go up in the air, but they don't completely submerge themselves.  It's another one of nature's whatchamacallits that make us wonder and laugh at the same time.  It's just a giggle to see a duck's butt up in the air.....there's no other way to say it.

The 'honk' of the Canadian is a sound we in this area easily recognize, but actually they are known to have at least 12 other goose calls to greet each other, to warn, and to show that everything is okay.  Scientists have discovered that the Canadian may be one of the most talkative animals next to us humans.  Baby geese, or goslings as they are called, start communicating with their parents before they are hatched out of the egg.  They have found that after they hatch, the goslings respond differently to different noises their parents make, which indicates a rather sophisticated level of communication.

The male and female Canadian are good parents.  Before the hatch, the male stays near to the nest and guards the female and the eggs.  If there's a sign of danger, he will lure the predator away.  After the babies hatch, both parents devotedly raise them.  The family will spend all of its time together, and the goslings usually stay with their parents for a full year.

Without realizing it, we have made the duck and the goose an integral part of the English language.....

  • I've got the goose bumps.
  • What's good for the goose is good for the gander.
  • Duck!!! (put your head down)
  • You silly goose.
  • He sat there like a sitting duck.
  • Man, that went slicker than goose grease!
  • She waddles like a duck
  • She won the lottery, that lucky duck.
  • How 'bout the quack (the lousy doctor)?
  • You'd better get your ducks in a row.
  • Settle down, don't get your feathers all ruffled.
  • Don't fret about it, let it roll like water off a duck's back.
  • I'm so tired I feel like a dead duck.
  • Lame duck session of Congress is when Congress meets after election day and before the next Congressional term begins.
  • The goose that laid the golden egg.
  • If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, looks like a duck, it must be a duck.
  • He looked lost, like a duck out of water.
  • Boy, she learned fast, like a duck takes to water.
  • Loose as a goose.
  • We went on a wild goose chase.
  • He tried to goose me.
  • Take a gander at this (take a close look at something).
  • Boy, his goose is cooked.
  • "Bottoms up!" (making a toast)
Now, wasn't that just ducky!