A domestic swan goose visits Hen Cove. (DAVID MORTON PHOTO)
Years ago, our Bethel Point neighborhood received a Thanksgiving visitor. A stunning white domestic turkey came to our backyard bird feeder, then sat with us on the patio that balmy November day. We fretted our dogs might upset the fowl, called neighbors to see if they had lost the bird, made a safe straw nest in our basement, and named her Maud. The night revealed an increasingly unhappy bird. In the morning, we again sat together on the patio reading the morning paper and suddenly she was gone. We never found out if she got home safely.
This week, as we cleaned up from the storms, preparing for winter holidays, a birder friend came to walk our street. He noted a swan goose, domestic rather than wild, sailing royally in our Hen Cove. All week we kept watch, enjoying our walks with “squawk/talks” at a distance, placing cracked corn near the shore.
On the fifth morning walk we saw a valiant young man standing knee-deep in the now very cold water, pleading with the bird on shore. Eventually his friends came to help and the goose was placed in the man’s car — a common mode of travel, they said. The goose and its mate had become lost from their farm on Orr’s Island during the last windstorm. The owner, after placing lost signs all over town, finally heard from animal control. The joy on that man’s face upon reuniting with our visiting goose, and the sadness at the loss of a female goose still not found, were both heartening and heart-wrenching. How does a domestic bird fly over 2 miles from Gun Point over Quahog Bay to Hen Cove? We hope that the swan goose and its mate were reunited for Christmas.
Dianne Chilmonczyk, Bethel Point