Hot Summer Fun with the Animals!

If any of you are from the South, then you know how blistering hot its been the last month. I mean, like, I literally sweat walking from my car to the entrance of the grocery store. This summer in particular, I don’t think it matters where you are. It’s HOT! Now, imagine putting on a fur coat as you walked into the store. I wouldn’t make it.

If you’ve read any of my blogs, you’ve probably figured out that I love writing, reading, and animals. I thought since most of us have the Monday Blues, I would mix it up a bit, and show you some fun ways our wonderful furry creatures stay cool in the summer. Enjoy!!

Here, polar bear Yoghi wrestles an ice cake at Hellabrunn Zoo in Munich, Germany, on July 1.

A white tiger enjoys a frozen meal at Dusit Zoo, known as Khao Din, in Bangkok on April 22. Hot weather come early to Thailand in this year, with averages of nearly 105 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degree Celsius) in most areas.
A worker splashes water on elephants to cool them off at the Karachi Zoo, in Pakistan, on June 24. Caretakers at Karachi’s zoo were working to keep animals cool during a deadly heatwave insouthern Pakistan. The human toll from four days of sweltering conditions rose into the thousands. Large animals — including elephants from Tanzania, white lions, and tigers from Bengal — have been deeply distressed due to the “unbearable” heat, said Tazeem Naqvi, a director at the facility.
A giraffe gets a cold shower in Ouwehands Dierenpark (Ouwehands Zoo) in Rhenen, Netherlands, on June 30. The animals in the zoo get regular refreshments when temperatures soar into the 80s.
 A tiger beats the heat by embracing a large lump of ice at the Karachi Zoo on June 24.
 A mandrill studies its iced fruit in Ouwehands Dierenpark (Ouwehands Zoo) on June 30.
A chimp splashes to cool off at the Karachi Zoo as temperatures soared toward 105 degrees F.
monkeys drinking water
Monkeys drink and play in tap water at the Wulongkou resort in China.
gray hanuman langur eating block of ice and frozen fruit
There’s nothing like a cold, fruity treat on a hot summer day. This gray hanuman langur certainly seems to be enjoying the fruit-filled “ice cream bomb” given to him by zookeepers at the zoo in Hanover, Germany.
panda bear playing with large block of ice
A panda at the Wuhan Zoo in China keeps cool as it rolls around with a large block of ice.
monkey eating watermelon
 Nothing says summer like a juicy slice of watermelon. This snub-nosed monkey at the Shaanxi Wild Animals Rescue Center in China digs into a piece of fresh fruit and enjoys the center’s air conditioning.
gorilla eating popsicle
 Everyone loves a popsicle! Effie, a female western lowland gorilla at the London Zoo, indulges in a fruit-flavored ice block.
lemurs licking watermelon
Three ring-tailed lemurs lick the juice from a piece of watermelon at Hangzhou Safari Park in China.
monkey drinking from water bottle
 A macaque monkey raises a toast to summer as he takes a sip of a plum-favored drink at a zoo in Tianjin, China.
hippo being fed watermelon
A zookeeper at a Chinese zoo hand feeds a hippo an entire chilled watermelon to help cool it down. That’s one pampered hippo!
Hoped ya’ll enjoyed my little photo gallery! Stay cool everyone! Happy Writing Ya’ll!

Mix-It up Monday Post #6 – Honey Bees

beekeeper

So my husband has started a new hobby. Apparently, in a short while we will embark on the new world of bee keeping. Well…he will. I’m still a little skeptical of getting stung by a bunch of those little guys.

I will say though, there is more to a honey bee than meets the eye. They’re a really important part of our ecosystem and some things I never even knew about until my husband started researching them.

Here’s a cool article about 10 Fascinating Facts about Honey Bees: http://insects.about.com/od/antsbeeswasps/a/10-facts-honey-bees.htm

On a serious note, did you also know that there is a danger in them becoming extinct? This could greatly effect our ecosystem in ALOT of different ways. They don’t just make honey.

Honey bees throughout North America and Canada are continuing to disappear at an alarmingly rapid rate, signaling a dire threat to the production of countless food sources.

Albert Einstein first famously speculated that “if the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, man would have only four years to live.” Although Einstein’s claims were often considered outrageous, the plight of the honey bees has become a documented problem threatening much of the economy’s natural resources.

Nearly five years ago, reports of bees dying in large numbers began to surface, and beekeepers began to report that their hives were becoming defunct, causing the agricultural community to become alarmed and to search for an explanation, which has yet to be scientifically determined. There is little insight into why hives have been completely deserted, with almost all adult bees seemingly disappearing, causing honey production to massively decline, and the bee industry to become crippled.

A mite, similar to a tick, was accidentlly transported from Asia and is suspected of being a leading cause of CCD.

A mite, similar to a tick, was accidentlly transported from Asia and is suspected of being a leading cause of CCD.

According to Tom Hill, member of the Macon County Beekeepers Association, the majority of scientists have almost pinpointed the problem down to a mite that was accidently imported to the United States from Asia nearly 20 years ago. “The parasite attacks the honey bees similar to what ticks do to dogs,” said Hill. “The larva of the mite feeds on the larva of the bees, killing them before they are even fully developed.”

In addition to the parasite simply feeding on the honey bees, the open wounds and bite marks are filled with the mite’s salvia, preventing it from ever healing, causing the bees to become extremely susceptible to disease and infections. The diseases obtained from the injuries of the bite slowly weaken a colony, ultimately killing it off over a period of time.

Hill explained that North Carolina’s wild bee population is virtually depleted, and less than two percent of the bees remain in comparison to the population from 20 years ago.

“We are constantly adding more beekeepers, and are replacing the queens of the colonies more rapidly to prevent CCD [Colony Collapse Disorder] from wiping out the bee population in Macon County,” said Hill. “The Beekeepers Association has continued to grow and beekeepers have become the sole factor in sustaining the population. Until the problem is completely solved, it is up to us to keep the bees alive.”

The Macon County Beekeepers Association currently has more than 50 members, and according to Hill, within Macon County, there are nearly 100 individual beekeepers.

The honey bee population is at two percent compared to 20 years ago.

The honey bee population is at two percent compared to 20 years ago.

Although there is not a specific documented cause, the phenomenon has been deemed Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), and has continued to threaten the nation’s agricultural community. The honey bee population has been in decline for a number of years now, suffering from the enigmatic colony collapse disorder The latest research on U.S. honey bees only increases speculation over future food production, as bees are directly responsible for pollinating nearly 90 percent of the world’s commercial plants, from fruits and vegetables to coffee and cotton.

Researchers have proposed that multiple factors contribute to CCD, which is why a specific cause can not be identified. Among causes being explored are malnutrition, pathogens, immunodeficiencies, fungus, pesticides, and beekeeping practices such as the use of antibiotics and steroids.

In 2007, The United States Department of Agriculture assembled the CCD Response Effort, which includes the Steering Committee and Working Team, developed the CCD Action Plan to address the increasing concerns in the bee community. According to the CCD Steering Committee’s executive summary, pollination is responsible for $15 billion in added crop value, specifically for crops such as nuts, berries, fruits and vegetables, and if researchers are unable to find a solution, beekeepers will be unable to meet the demands to continue producing the crops.

The committee, which is comprised of scientists throughout the United States, is geared toward four main components in attempt to alleviate the problem. The focus points include survey and data collection, analysis of samples, hypotheses-driven research, and mitigation and preventative action.

Here’s another post about it: http://guardianlv.com/2014/04/bees-becoming-extinct/

Our Food Source Survival

We depend on bees to fertilize our food-producing plant. Without bees transferring pollen from one flower to another to fertilize it, crops and plants will not become fertilized and bear fruit. Some of the fruits and vegetables that rely on pollination include watermelon, apples, pears, strawberries, almonds, corn, cucumbers and tomatoes.

Wow! Who knew right? Bees are pretty important. Sooo, I’ll keep everyone posted on our occupation as beekeepers. It definitely seems like something pretty worth while and interesting. As my father-in-law says, “BEE KEEPER FOR LIFE!!”

Happy Monday ya’ll!

Mix-It Up Monday Post #5 – Wild Animals in Zoos

For those of you who don’t know, as a teenager I worked/volunteered at the local zoo in the city I grew up in. It was an amazing experience, one where I was able to raise birds, squirrels, deer, and even lion cubs. Along with capturing alligators and crocodiles, that was just a few experiences I had along the way.

Of course, I also learned how to respect these feral creatures while watching them interact with their own species, zoo visitors, and the zookeepers who cared for them daily. One of the most constant and stressed teachings I had with the zookeepers was that even caged animals born into captivity still held the wild thread within their blood. They were not to be underestimated at any time. As the Educational Curator placed emphasis upon, “Anything with a mouth can bite.” Just because they were in a zoo didn’t mean they were tame by any means.

Unfortunately, situations or mistakes take place and there can be deadly consequences. Some were provoked while others were not. However, I stand to say that each of the zookeepers I worked along side knew each time they put themselves in danger. Which was every day they fed out or walked into an animal’s enclosure, their home, their territory.

With that said, I find it ironic as well as a little daunting that someone would have to decide “what to do with the animal”. We’re not talking about a rogue dog that wandered into your yard and bit you. We’re talking about known wild animals that are caged. Why would it automatically be thought it their fault when that’s what they are…wild. Is it not human illusion that they could make them be anything but that? Has television really made kids as well as adults think they can be tamed just because the guy on T.V. wrestled with one and it looked like fun?

This is not me talking without experience. I raised lion cubs that were days old taken from their mother until nearly a year old and over a 100 pounds. In many senses they were my children, my babies. But even in play they would go for my neck, not realizing their strength and power against me. So, I add to this question. Does their wildness automatically charge them as being faulty? Faulty and dangerous are two totally different things. Just as I said with my lion cubs who thought they were only playing with me as they did with each other. Not because they were intentionally trying to kill me.

Should you be punished for defending your home? Should you be labeled as bad because you did something that was just human nature? What about their animal nature?

Here are just a few stories about zoo animal attacks, even one as short as a few days ago. What do you think? What would you do?

1. Animal keeper killed in lion attack at Seoul zoo – Feb. 2015

SEOUL, South Korea — An animal keeper died Thursday after apparently being attacked by two lions at a zoo in South Korea’s capital, officials said.

A colleague found the keeper, 52-year-old Kim Geun-bae, unconscious and bleeding heavily from his neck and legs in the animals’ enclosure, as a male and female lion wandered near him, according to Seoul Children’s Grand Park official Jisun Lee. Kim was pronounced dead at a hospital about two hours later, she said.

There were no witnesses or visitors at the time of the attack because the zoo has been closed since last week to prevent the spread of avian flu, Lee said.

The park said Kim had 20 years’ experience as an animal keeper and had been working with dangerous animals such as lions, tigers and leopards for the past three years.

Lee said the zoo is waiting for police to examine security camera video and other evidence before deciding what to do with the lions.

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2. Fuzhou, China

In September 2007, a visitor to the Fuzhou Zoo was taking pictures of Assamese macaques when one of the monkeys grabbed his phone and began chewing it. The man climbed over the railing to get his phone back and was scratched by three enraged monkeys.

3. Beijing, China

In January 2009, a visitor at the Beijing Zoo jumped over a barrier to retrieve a toy dropped by his son. Instead of getting the toy, he got attacked by a 240 pound panda named Gu Gu, who bit his legs and refused to let go. Apparently this cuddly panda has developed a taste for human flesh, as it has previously attacked two other humans.

4. Kiev, Ukraine

In July 2008, a visitor at the Mykolaev city zoo was trying to take some close-up pictures of the Siberian Brown bears. The visibly intoxicated man lost his footing and fell into the enclosure. He was promptly attacked by three bears, who ripped him apart, killing him.

5. San Francisco, California

On Christmas 2007, four visitors to the San Francisco Zoo were seen taunting a 243-pound Siberian tiger named Tatiana. Less than an hour later, the tiger escaped from her enclosure and attacked three of her agitators, killing one of them. It is unclear how the tiger escaped and there is suspicion that it was aided by humans.

6. Calgary, Canada

In October 2009, two drunken men snuck into the Calgary Zoo at one in the morning to surprise a friend working there. They climbed over a safety fence and approached the tiger cage. One of the men was mauled and severely injured by a Siberian tiger named Vitali. Their friend was no doubt surprised, not by their visit, but at how stupid they are.

7. Guwahati, India

In December 2009, a visitor at the Guwahati Zoo jumped over a barrier to get an up-close shot of the tigers on his cell phone. Although there were bars separating the man from the tigers, one tiger managed to rip off the man’s hand and another tiger soon joined in on the attack. It seems these tigers were quite camera-shy, as their would-be photographer was later pronounced dead.

8. Manitowoc, Wisconsin

In March 2010, a woman ignored barriers and warning signs and approached two bears, intending to feed them. While humans enjoy chicken fingers, apparently bears prefer human fingers, and one bear bit off her thumb and forefinger and partially severed her middle and ring fingers.

9. Hyderabad, India

Along with driving, operating heavy machinery, and calling your grandma, add “feeding large carnivorous felines” to the list of things that don’t mix well with alcohol. In August 2009, a drunk man snuck into the Nehru Zoological Park after visiting hours. He approached a white tiger, with grass in hand, and tried to feed it through the bars. The tiger found his arm much more appealing and mauled him, ripping a great deal of flesh off of his right arm.

10. Berlin, Germany

Desiring to play with the animals, a woman jumped into an animal enclosure at the Berlin Zoo in April, 2009. She soon learned that polar bears, the world’s largest land carnivores, don’t make good playmates, as the polar bears bit her several times, severely injuring her.

11. Kiev, Ukraine

It seems lions hate having religion shoved down their throats just as much as humans do. In June 2006, a man climbed into the lion enclosure at the Kiev Zoo, ranting about God and how he would not be killed by the lions. One lion disagreed and seized him at the throat, killing him.

If you have any doubts, I simply leave you with this.

One of the last years I volunteered, we constructed a new habitat native to the state I lived in. One of the enclosures had a net where bobcats could walk above you. Great for pictures and seeing the animal from all angles. However, I was horrified one day as I witnessed a man holding a toddler above his head. As the little girl reached towards the large wild cat with her tiny fingers he said to her, “Awww, pet the kitty.”

Is there really anything else to say?

Mix-It Up Monday Post #4 – Seeds Anyone?

Do we have any gardeners out there?? If so and you’re in the New York area this might be of interest to you. Heck, maybe you could even make a suggestion to your local library about starting a new trend like this.

My husband who absolutely LOVES to garden and is an avid one in the spring and winter (yes, there are winter veggies), thought this was a pretty cool thing for this New York library to offer its members. Check it out!

You can now check out seeds from New York libraries

by Public Libraries on January 26, 2015

Eco

There have been plenty of stories in the past couple of years about the interesting ways in which libraries are trying to bring new utility to their communities.  This one might just top the list in its uniqueness, however:  The Chemung County Library District in New York state has started offering gardeners the opportunity to “check out” seeds from the libraries themselves.
The library district says that they hope to provide fresh and healthy food growing opportunities to their surrounding communities, and recognize that high quality seeds for healthy crops can be difficult to come across.  Gardeners of all skills levels are welcome, and the project is actually a continuation of one that started last summer at the Big Flats and Horseheads Free libraries.  Pam Lee, who heads the project at the Horseheads library, says that the idea was that growers could take seeds away and grow their crops, and then return with a portion of the seeds from their harvests later in the year.  In this way, much like a regular library book lending system, the number of items in the seed library could be maintained and kept self-sustaining.  Currently, patrons can take up to five packets of seeds with them at a time.

Just like with anything else at the library, however, you do need a library card to ‘check out’ any seeds.  In some ways, this may entice new community members to become library patrons and get their own cards.  Officials note that while they hope that patrons’ plantings are successful, they “understand some plants are harder to seed than others.”  With that in mind, the library asks that anyone who checks out seeds brings back any that they end up not using, whatever the reason.

The library also says that it wants to work hard to maintain the quality of the seeds.  When seeds are returned, relevant staff will work to verify the origin of returned seeds.  “Open-pollinated or heirloom seems,” the rules state, “but no hybrids.”

While the program saw only marginal usage last year, having seeds from the very start of the year – combined with greater awareness as time goes on – will probably bring about much larger engagement in the program this year.  In fact, as planting season approaches, some branches have already seen a rising rate in seeds being checked out.

Apparently, the range of seeds available is also quite large:  vegetables, squash, flowers, Swiss chard, beans, and more are ready for use by the community.  All in all, there are around 50 different species available.

Not confident in your own planting and gardening skills?  No problem!  Local experts on horticulture will be putting on workshops at various branches throughout the year, so even newbies can get growing in no time.  Both of the libraries currently offering the program plan to have their own workshops every month that will help establish the basics of planting a garden as well.  Some of the classes offered will also focus on certain topics, like growing in certain adverse conditions, or how those living in apartments or with other limited-space setups can get involved as well.

Mix-it Up Monday Post #3 – Koala Mitten Campaign! Please Help!

Okay, so I don’t know if anyone has heard about the fires they’re having in southeastern Australia, but I wanted to be able to share this amazing campaign they have going on right now to help the Koalas.

This will melt your heart…

Article from Today News:

Just one day after a campaign asked volunteers to knit mittens for koalas burned in Australian bush fires, more than 500 pairs of paw protectors have been pledged.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare, which rescues and protects animals worldwide, announced Wednesday they were taking action after a rash of recent bush fires threatened koalas in the southeastern Australian states of Victoria and New South Wales. In New South Wales, fires destroyed a habitat that’s home to 35 of the region’s 143 koalas, according to the IFAW.

Koala mittens

IFAW
Koalas burned in South Australian and Victorian bush fires are receiving volunteer-made mittens to facilitate the healing process.

Although some koalas have been rescued from the fire zone, many of the slow-moving creatures endured paw burns while trying to flee burning trees and their surrounding areas.

“Everyone’s been asking how they can help,” Josey Sharrad, a native wildlife campaigner for IFAW’s Sydney, Australia branch, told TODAY.com. “So, we thought it would be a great idea to ask people to make a supply of these mittens during bush fire season.”

Koala mittens

IFAW
Josey Sharrad, a native wildlife campaigner for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, looks after an injured koala.

Supplying a diagram to aid in the construction process, the animal-welfare group has asked volunteers to use scraps of clean, 100-percent cotton fabric to knit the custom, paw-sized mittens. Sharrad emphasized that the mittens are easy to make, even for people who have never picked up a sewing needle.

The mittens not only protect koala paws from further injury, but also allow burn cream to work more effectively. The IFAW says koala mittens there’s a constant demand for new, clean pairs because of a need to keep treatment surfaces clean. And since it can take up to a year for koalas’ burned paws to heal, there’s a demand for hundreds of mittens per injured koala.

Koala mittens

IFAW
A fire in the Australian state of New South Wales destroyed a prime habitat, where 35 of the area’s estimated 143 koalas live.

But within just one day of the IFAW’s press release about the koala mittens, more than 500 pairs have been pledged, according to Sharrad.

“Some people are making up to 100 mittens,” she added. “It’s fantastic. We didn’t expect this response. We’ve been inundated, and it’s been brilliant.”

And while the vast majority of them are being knit by fellow Australians, there’s a mounting international coalition, too. Sharrad reported that makeshift mittens have arrived from as far away as England.

Koala mittens

IFAW
This IFAW diagram aids volunteers in knitting their own mittens for the paws of burned koalas.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the response,” she said. “It shows people’s concern for wildlife, and it’s really resonated with people, because it shows that people can do something to help.”

Mittens can be mailed to IFAW, 6 Belmore Street, Surry Hills, Sydney NSW 2010, Australia.

Koala mittens

IFAW
Approximately 500 pairs of volunteer-made mittens were pledged within a day of the announcement of this initiative, according to IFAW.
God put us in charge of taking care of all these creatures. Let’s do our part!!!
Happy Writing & Happy Knitting! 🙂

Mix it up Monday Post #2 – Movies Anyone?

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Did everyone survive Monday? I barely did it seems…LOL! Anyway, I don’t know about ya’ll but I love movies! Love them! I would go see one three times a week if I could. My husband, on the other hand, would rather wait for it to come out on DVD and watch it in the comfort of his own couch.

Not me though, going to the movies is more than just the movie. It’s an experience. You have to have popcorn, candy, and in my case a large Mr. Pibb. 🙂

So in celebration of the movie experience. I compiled a list of some upcoming movies hitting the theatre. I’M SO EXCITED!!! Are you!?!

The Avengers: Age of Ultron – WooHOO! I’m ready! This Marvel movie is said to be released May 1, 2015. I’ll be there!

Pitch Perfect 2: We’re back Pitches – I loved the first movie so much that a friend and I actually were extras in this second one. Wonder if you’ll be able to see us? I mean, it can’t get any better than Anna Kendrick and Fat Amy. LOL! May 15, 2015 get your singing on!

Insurgent: This ones coming up pretty soon. March 20, 2015 to be exact. Are you ready? I read the books and love the characters. I don’t think we’ll be disappointed.

Pan: This movie looks pretty interesting. Hugh Jackman plays Blackbeard so that’s gotta be cool. It’s release date is July 24, 2015.

Tomorrowland: A Disney movie coming out May 22, 2015. George Clooney is in this which was a bit surprising to me. It looked cool though.

Minions: Yes, call me a nerd if you like, but who doesn’t love these yellow guys! I mean seriously! You can’t tell me you don’t wish some lived at your house. Anyway, this is coming out July 26, 2015. My whole family will be there…even my husband. 🙂

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 – Release date November 20, 2015. I don’t think there’s a trailer out for it yet though.

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens – OMG…no other words required. Release date December 18, 2015. I’ll be there the day before. LOL. Again, I don’t think there’s a trailer out for this one yet. Sorry guys.

Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials – Release date September 18, 2015. Can’t wait to see this. In the mean time, I might pick up the books to read.

AND for a little more icing on the cake. Here’s a few more movies set out for 2016. I can’t wait!

Star Trek 3 (untitled) – July 2016

X-men Apocalypse – May 2016

Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice – March 2016 Yay Henry Cavill! Boo Ben Affleck!

Finding Dory (Pixar) – June 2016

Ice Age 5 – July 2016

Captian America: A Civil War – May 2016

The Huntsman – April 2016

Warcraft – March 2016

Now You See Me: The Second Act – June 2016

So there you have it folks. Just a little tid bit to keep you motivated on these horrible Mondays. There’s some pretty freaking good movies coming are way so get ready! Happy Writing AND Watching!

Mix It Up Monday!!

So let me explain “Mix it up Monday” real quick. Obviously, some of us are dragging from the weekend. We need anything to knock us out of the stupor that we feel making our way to the coffee pot.

Anyway, to add a little fun to the mix, I’ve decided to take Mondays and give them a spin. Because I’m a writer I tend to sway towards blogging about writing. And that’s important! Share the wealth of knowledge I say! But writer’s are more than just their writing. They have hobbies, other jobs, and interests just like any other person.

In celebration of that; fun stories, recipes, animal facts, fashion trends, and any other little tid bit will find its way to my Monday blogs going forward. So sit back and enjoy!

kim 073Meet Ms. Piggy…

Yes, she does look somewhat like something you would see on Sesame Street. But I assure you she’s real and just happens to live in my back yard. We drove to Austin to pick her up and her mate, Kermit. To clarify, the reason for her name…when she honks it sound like a pig. Really…

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Ms. Piggy is known as a Cape Barren or Cereopsis Goose (Cereopsis novaehollandiae). These large geese are found on the south-eastern coast of Australia, and islands off southern Australia, with smaller populations occurring in Western Australia on the islands of the Recherche Archipelago.

They, however, are not like most geese. Cape Barren’s are considered land geese and unlike most others, they rarely swim. They spend their days grazing predominantly on the common island tussock grass, Poa poiformis, as well as spear grass and various herbs and succulents. They also eat pasture grasses, including barley and clover, and legumes. Their ability to drink salt or brackish water allows numbers of geese to remain on offshore islands all year round.

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Last century, they were hunted for food almost to extinction. Due to conservation efforts, their numbers have increased considerably and this species is now relatively common within its limited range. However, they still remain one of the rarest of the world’s geese.

Cape Barren Geese are monogamous, forming life-long pair-bonds. Most breeding activities are observed between May and September. In autumn, breeding pairs establish breeding territories and aggressively and noisily defend these territories against intruders, chasing away other geese, dogs, foxes and even humans.

The male is responsible for constructing the nest using various grasses and plant matter. The nest is lined with soft down feathers.The female lays four to six (sometimes seven) creamy white eggs and incubates them alone for about 35 days to hatching, while the male feeds the nesting female.

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The hatchlings are covered in black and white striped down feathers. The young are brooded by both parents equally. The goslings grow rapidly during the winter, and are able to fly by the end of spring, at which time families join flocks of non-breeding geese, which have also spent the winter on the breeding island.

As far my personal Cape Barren Geese, Ms. Piggy is very personable. She follows us around the yard making sure she’s a part of whatever is going on at the Mill’s House. She is quite a conversation piece to the visitor we have come ever so often, greeting them as they open the front gate to our yard.

Some aren’t sure what to think as she picks and tugs gently at their pants to be petted. Don’t be alarmed either when you bend down to talk to her and she flaps her wings in front or behind you and hisses. That’s actually a sign we found to be affectionate or simply a, “Hey I’m here, look at me!”

Kermit is more ornery. He keeps to himself and refuses for anyone to touch him. He doesn’t like the dogs so much either and they don’t seem to like him. They stay on their opposite ends of the yard.

For the most part they all live pretty harmoniously though with the German Shepherd, Lab, 2 pygmy goats, Canadian goose, Speckled-Belly goose, Runner duck, 2 giant Flemish rabbits, 15 Bantam (mini) chickens, 7 big chickens (variety), Bengal Leopard cat, mini pig, box turtle, and hermit crabs.

Whew! I don’t think I left anybody out! I’m still waiting on my husband to say yes to a miniature donkey. Everybody should have one of those. Don’t ya’ll think!? 🙂