My adventures in the woods, streams, rivers, fields, and lakes of Michigan

The continuing sage of Lonesome George, the end?

I still have a couple of posts to do about things that happened at the pond where Lonesome George was, but they don’t really revolve around him, so I am going to wrap up the Lonesome George series. I have to tell you, this is a tough one for me to write.

The last day that I saw Lonesome George was October 14, 2012. I wish that I could tell you all what happened to him, but I can’t. It was a cold, windy, rainy day that day, and most of the geese that had been staying at the pond during the day had stopped coming, leaving George by himself most of the time.

The next day, when I didn’t see George, my heart sank. I forced myself to go around and around the pond in concentric circles, looking for clues to tell me what had happened to George, hoping that I wouldn’t find a pile of feathers somewhere that were the remains of George, I didn’t. I expanded my search, covering nearly all the open ground within walking distance of the pond, hoping to see George someplace, or at least see signs that would tell me what had happened to him, but there was nothing.

I wish that I could tell you that I saw him testing his injured wing, and that it had healed enough that I had watched George fly away, but I can’t. I don’t think that he was killed by predators, there were no signs of that at all. So what happened to him, I don’t know. Maybe some one had finally found an animal rescue site that came and got George, maybe he did fly off, or maybe he walked to one of the other lakes in the area.

In some ways, it was like losing a close friend.

However, for much of the summer, I felt like a heel, as if I were taking advantage of George’s injury just for the sake of getting photographs for my blog. I had tried, as had other people, to find some one to rescue George, with no success.

For some one who had been raised to believe that allowing an animal to suffer was one of the worst sins one could commit, it bothered me, and made me feel helpless, that there was little I could do for George. I should have done more.

But then, George didn’t seem to be suffering, either. In fact, by the end of the summer, he was for all intents and purposes, a normal Canada goose, except he couldn’t fly. He would hang out with other geese when he wanted, even leading the flock around at times, then at other times, he’d go off by himself for a while, for reasons I can’t explain.

When other birds would be flying within sight of George, he seemed to always be watching them intently, and I would wonder what was going through his goose brain. Was he remembering back to when he could fly? Was he remembering places he had been? Was he wishing that he could fly off to other places like the other birds? Or, was he simply on the lookout for possible danger?

And then, there’s Molly the mallard, who stuck by George like glue for the first two months after George was injured. I’m fairly certain that Molly was an older mallard, past her breeding age, by her coloring. Was it maternal instinct that kept her at George’s side, was it friendship, or both? And what about George? He seemed to enjoy having Molly around, and it looked as though he was going to protect her from the evil heron when she felt threatened by it.

But by the end of summer, as George spent more time with the other geese, and Molly spent more time with other mallards, their relationship seemed to come to an end.

Then, there’s Craig the cormorant, was he protecting George from the evil heron, or do cormorants and herons not get along at any time? It was strange, looking over the hill around the pond to see George, Molly, and Craig hanging out together for close to a month. There were other cormorants in the area as evidenced by the fact that some of the other would stop by that pond from time to time, so if Craig was looking for company, why didn’t he join the other cormorants, rather than hanging out with George and Molly?

I could go on at length about all that I learned by hanging out watching George, but I won’t, at least not now.

For now, I just want to say goodbye George, I am going to miss you!

Lonesome George

Lonesome George


14 responses

  1. Good bye George. I hope your life is full of warm water, sweet grasses and old (and new) friends. I enjoyed following your story.

    January 14, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    • Thank you! I’m sure that George appreciates your thoughts as well!

      January 14, 2013 at 2:14 pm

  2. Vicki

    I hope that somehow you find out what happened to George.. thank you for sharing his story.

    January 14, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    • Thank you for taking the time to read it and share your thoughts.

      January 15, 2013 at 1:12 am

  3. plantsamazeme

    Jerry, you told an interesting story because you observed Lonesome George so thoughtfully. I think you had much compassion for that goose. Your story of Lonesome George and his friends tells us what kind of person you are.
    Thanks for sharing his story.

    January 14, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    • Thank you! I care about all critters, but especially the sick or injured that can’t fend for themselves.

      January 15, 2013 at 1:17 am

  4. Northern Narratives

    There’s so many possible answers. You never know, many someone captured George and took him to an animal rescue.

    January 14, 2013 at 7:42 pm

    • Thank you, I would like to think that’s what happened to him.

      January 15, 2013 at 1:18 am

  5. It’s so hard to say goodbye to a living creature that you come to care for when they disappear with no explanation. You will always remember him fondly and wonder if he’s happy and well where ever he may be.
    I had a stray cat that lived at my house for 10 years and I knew she was old and failing. Just one day she disappeared never to be heard from again.

    January 14, 2013 at 8:35 pm

    • Thank you! I have lots of photos to remember him by also, which helps.

      January 15, 2013 at 1:26 am

  6. Animals do seem to just disappear that way, and I’ve always thought it was just another one of nature’s mysteries that I’d probably never have the answer to.
    What I liked most about this story was the geese, mallards and cormorants becoming friends and helping each other. It seems like that is the way it should be, and I’m glad to know that it really is.

    January 15, 2013 at 6:56 am

    • Thanks, I sure don’t have the answer to what happened to George, and I spent a lot of time looking for clues.

      January 15, 2013 at 1:11 pm

  7. I can understand that it is like losing a close friend. You observed and learned so much from your daily excursions. If it helps, what information you passed on to us allowed us to learn from you such unusual observations and to fall in love with George. Thanks Jerry!

    January 16, 2013 at 8:16 pm

    • Thank you Donna, it helps.

      January 17, 2013 at 2:07 am