A local family is getting a greater appreciation for the ways of the wild after becoming surrogate parents to a pair of goslings.
Jo and Ken Olson of Third Street West took in the orphaned geese more than five weeks ago after a friend found the birds abandoned near Flanders Road, east of Mine Centre.
“When he brought [the goslings] here, they were maybe a week old—just balls of yellow fluff,” Jo Olson said last week. “He asked if we’d look after them and of course we said ‘no.’”
The couple’s children—Kyle, Kim, and Mandy—formed an instant bond with the goslings and naming them quickly followed.
Dubbed “Little Willy” and “Fluffy,” the young geese have spent their days caged outside on the lawn, with daily allowances made for yard exercise and waddles to swim in the kids’ pool.
They sleep in a cardboard box inside the house at night.
“One day they jumped out of the pool and took off [and] I went on a wild goose chase,” Olson chuckled.
At first, the birds were fed a diet of wild bird seed, dry wild rice, whole wheat kernels, and lettuce but since have graduated to store-bought duck and goose mix, along with grass, gravel, foxtails, and clover.
“They come to their names just like a dog [and] they eat just about anything they can get their little beaks on,” Mandy Olson noted.
Jo Olson said the goslings are starting to show signs of feather growth, and have begun flapping their wings when running. Plans for re-introducing them to the wild is still a ways off, she added, but hopes the transition back to Mother Nature goes smoothly when the time comes.
“I’d like to try to integrate them back into a flock because I’m not flying an ultralight,” she laughed, referring to the movie “Fly Away Home” where an ultralight plane was used to lead geese on their migration route.