Goose-Step Comes to Toronto As Wild Fowl Return to Pond

Twoscore Canada Geese Glad to Return to Summer Home for They Were Getting on Each Other’s Nerves

Goose-Step Comes to Toronto As Wild Fowl Return to Pond
Goose-Step Comes to Toronto As Wild Fowl Return to Pond

(By JESSIE E. MacTAGGART.)                                                                (Staff Writer, The Globe and Mail.)

High Park’s annual goose parade, which announces the arrival of spring in the park, took place yesterday afternoon.  Canada First, big 20-year-old pond-boss gander, headed the contingent of forty wild geese which moved out of winter quarters behind the gamekeeper’s lodge to Catfish Pond at a record pace and sent showers of spray skyward in celebration of the first ducking enjoyed this year.

The parade didn’t occur any too soon, according to George Stewart, guardian of the geese during the winter.  Family troubles arising from cramped quarters and the spring urge to be going places had reached such a pitch in the winter enclosure that scarcely one goose was speaking to another, and Mr Stewart was kept constantly on the jump separating belligerent males who suspected one another of improper advances toward their mates.

Mongamous Geese.

Geese, he explained, particularly the Canada goose with good family traditions behind, are very fussy about family matters, are firm believers in monogamy, and in the spring are eager to set up their own private nests by ponds before settling down to the business of raising young.  The females were anxious to get nest-building finished before egg-laying time, which is May.

Life in winter quarters had been further upset by a constant fear of air raids by horned owls, who, swooping unexpectedly from the North, did a great deal of damage in the park this winter.  They cleaned out all but four of the guinea hens who roost in the trees all winter, and wiped out the entire pheasant population with the exception of one male, who now skulks about the park in a state of constant terror.

Yaks Look On.

The parade yesterday caused quite a commotion in the park.  Three bar-headed geese from India, born last year, and taking part in the first parade, at first headed the contingent, but were ousted at the quarter-mile mark by the Canada geese, who exaggerated waddle seemed no impediment to speed.

In the parade there were also snow geese, blue geese, barnacle geese, and a bean goose from Europe.  Peacocks, yaks, wild turkeys, Himalayan tahrs, the wild cattle of Cazow and Barbary sheep lined their enclosures to watch the parade pass.

Date:  APR 3, 1937

high park

Leave a Reply