Monday, 18 May 2009


Buffy and Angel's gosling - so new to the world it was as yet unnamed - has disappeared.

Last night when I went down to shut the little family into their shed for the night I couldn't see the gosling, but assumed s/he was probably safely snuggled under Mama Buffy on the nest. Even so I had a mild twinge of unease, so to be certain, after shutting the shed I checked all round the goose run and in the pond. I found nothing out of the ordinary. I knew the devoted parents would never have left their offspring unattended anyway.

This morning when I opened the goose shed the bad news was confirmed. For the first time since she began incubating her eggs, Buffy came out of the shed as soon as I opened the door. Followed by Angel. But only the two of them. I checked inside the shed - perhaps the little mite had taken a chill in the cold, windy, wet weather. But no, no ailing gosling, no sad little corpse.

I can only assume that some predator - a buzzard, red kite, rat, weasel, stoat, mink or polecat? - must have snatched the gosling. Whatever it was must have been quick and sneaky to have outwitted Buffy and Angel, whose entire focus was their baby.

I know they are grieving, as they did last year when Snowy died. I just hope geese have short memories, and they are not left hurting for too long. At least they have each other, a rock solid partnership for comfort. Looking back over the posts I have written about them and the other animals here at Halfway Up A Hill it's clear to me how unique and individual a character each creature is, how rich and complex their relationships with each other. How anyone can deny that animals experience emotions as we do is beyond me.

Sadly that includes grief sometimes.


Paul Rousselle said...

That's horrible to hear. How awful for Angel and Buffy.
It seemed so certain that this time maybe they could really have a proper family.

My thoughts are with you and the pair :-(

aromatic said...

This is so sad and I so feel for Buffy and Angel... I hope their grief does not last to long and the pain and hurt soon goes away.
I know only to well that animals do experience emotions and grief is one of them. When our other ginger cat Fluffy was hit by a car and sadly killed. His brother who we still have now called Bold was so lost and lonely. Bold used to go around and around the house and garden looking for him, it took Bold sometime to adjust. Also Fluffy was very good friends with the cat next door and after Fluffy's death, Ozzy would come into our garden for days meowing pitifully for Fluffy... It was heartbreaking to be honest.. but time healed eventually.. but yes animals most certainly experience the emotion of grief...
Basil our dog knows when I am upset and will come and lay his head on my lap... or get up by me and nudge me... my other dog used to do this also...
The other day Basil jumped up by my Mum and snuggled into her.. it cheered Mum up and made her day!Basil just seems to know and understand everything!
When we helped with the nursing of my late father in law last year who was terminally ill with cancer..Basil knew and he spent ages just lying by the side of Jim's bed.. I used to see Jim weakly reach out his arm and Basil would gently lay his head by his hand and let Jim pat him...
So most certainly animals feel emotions!
Thinking about you today and of course Buffy and Angel..
Love Jane xxx

Anonymous said...

Oh thats awful, i'm so sorry - poor Buffy and Angel :-(

Jopan said...

oh thats terrable news! And i don't know what to say to help. hopefully you're geese will be ok. And you never know, they're might be the slightest chance that you missed the baby in a corner somewhere. i don't know how big their incloser is but as he was so small he might just have been out of sight. Heres hoping for good news.

dragonfly said...

Hi, I am so sorry that's happened. Don't know whether there is anything else 'one' could suggest to prevent this again. Or whether this is part of nature and the risk of keeping birds. Hard.

Leanne said...

oh thats so sad :-(

Leanne x

solsticedreamer~laoi gaul~williams said...

oh no thats so dreadful :(

Loraine said...

Poor geese!
I've always known animals experience emotions not much differently from our own- it's constantly reaffirmed to me.
Two years ago, my mother- in- law died, and no witnesses were there except her dogs- one of which was my husband's pet. When we rushed to the house after she'd been taken away, the big dog Spike ran to my husband, put his paw in my husband's lap- and for all the world it sounded so much like he was crying and trying to talk at the same time! He was so traumatized, I felt so bad for him, but at the same time it was an incredible show of obvious emotion from a dog.

Reya Mellicker said...

Oh, this is SO sad. They've had a hard time keeping their kids, haven't they?

Glad they have you to take such good care of them.


Cottage Smallholder said...

That's such a shame. Poor you, Buffy and Angel.

A new life is such a precious thing. For it to be snatched away so soon must be devistating.

Of course animals grieve

This Guy said...

Awwwww, I'm so sorry. That must be just awful for them! Poor Buffy and Angel =( I remember when I was raising my ducks, my favourite "buttercup" was sitting on 18 eggs, until the night a Raccoon came. No one was left, just feathers. So sad :(

hippymummy said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, our little fur and feathered friends have a way of getting under your skin in an incredibly short time don't they. We have lost two fur friends this year far, the coincidently named Buffy and Paige, our two guinea pigs. Paige died in march, mothers day actually, and her sister passed two weeks ago. Little miss now has Twilight to care for but we still mkss our spinster aunts and their funny ways. I hope you parents don't mourn for too long, sometimes mother nature can seem cruel. xXx