I am a bit of a leading Gander now myself, like the ugly duckling I spent years trying to be a duck I went to duck school, duck university but today ill be a Goose and stick with this flock I am trying to get going again.
What I started with was a few older very independent geese who were tired wounded and did not understand how a flock should fly together or want to be a flock, they did however want to see a flock grow but only as independent geese as they had been. They fly off to other flocks occasionally to feed on the edges but do not like the biggest flock close to them. They are also fiercely protective of who joins the flock and see me as a young upstart to be tolerated not followed at times. Some times they follow my lead, other times think they know better than this new goose who escaped like an ugly duckling to be a goose.
Other birds in Lewes have got involved in running Westgate who do not see what (Unitarians) Geese have to offer spiritually, and just see an old nesting site and try to find a different main use for it. They got together with a farm goose who was around some years ago, he left these other birds in charge of the nest. Decided he was an African goose strain not a British/American strain goose and started shooing off younger geese so they set up a new nesting site. It is hidden away and part used as these American geese fly back to the USA part of the year and join a flock there they came from. I hear about their little nesting site, closed to other than American geese. I do hope one day they come back but at the moment too many other birds are in power they are afraid.
Sadly more like a cuckoo these other birds have used the old geese and nearly all the food for a flock of geese. Mainly they have taken food not meant for them and given it away to visiting birds of all sorts who have gorged themselves on the food at times and then flown away. None of them actually put much food back. Then I came along, younger and stronger and started to bring new fledgeling s and a few stray geese into the nesting site, I upset the cuckoos who had taken up residence as part owners of the nest, questioned how the foods were to be used and tried to say save some. Tried to tell them how geese live and because they were mainly cuckoo minded ignored me and flew around Lewes saying that Gander is not to be trusted ignore him and fight him off. The older geese are so often away from the flock they still think like independent geese and think at least the nesting site has something in it like geese in some ways. They even peck at fledglings without meaning to and see them as rivals to be tolerated not encouraged as the gander does, sadly some of these try to be a part of the flock but when the ganders not about they feel bullied so fly away from the nesting site. I wish I could stop this as we have lost 4 geese.
There are a few stronger geese joined the flock, eager to understand the nesting site and more prepared to listen and of a suitable pedigree for the older geese to allow in. this year we might even get off the ground and start to fly a bit. We have had a few small fly pasts last year and may achieve stronger ones this year. I have managed to get a few more experienced ganders to police the old nesting site, as other birds left the nest I have got experienced strong ganders in to replace them, all waiting for a few more geese to join before we finally get control of the nest away from a cuckoo mentality. Get the flock to fly more and who knows what possibilities this might bring in the years ahead? If we started to work with other flocks they may lend a few geese now and then to swell our nesting site and eggs might start to hatch again. We got one fledgeling this week, he may find us a few more in time. I hope he does not get frightened away like the 4 who started coming along before. For five years now I have been trying to get the flock to grow again and learn how to fly trying to lead by example as best I can. We even have a computerised goose honker now (organ) as the swan who was lending aid has had to go look after the swans nest honking machine.
I am a bit of a disabled goose, but I do honk goose like and I love to do short flights in formation. I don't often get the chance, but the district will be having a honk party near by soon and ill do a bit of formation flying with them soon. (FUSE) I can't wait to meet some of the geese I have met in cyber-world who have inspired me and given a bit of help to the old nesting site.. Honk Honk for now!!!