Gracie the Goose Honks a Loud Hello

The wayward goose, perched on a rock, is believed to be a hybrid of a Pilgrim goose and a Chinese goose, and has taken up residence with a pair of Canada geese and their goslings on Fort Pond. Jane Bimson

It seems as if Mother Nature has provided an au pair for a pair of Canada geese and their three downy goslings that hang out on Fort Pond near Second House Road and Industrial Road in Montauk.

The wayward goose, who, according to our resident naturalist, Dell Cullum, appears to be a hybrid of a Pilgrim goose and a Chinese goose, was initially noticed by Debbie Kuntz in January, when it hunkered down from the cold with the rest of the Canada geese on the lower level of the Montauk School playing fields. The snow and ice was so thick they had no way of getting food.

Feeling sorry for them, Ms. Kuntz visited each day and threw cracked corn for them to eat. “I couldn’t watch them starving to death,” she said. One day, the hybrid showed up at her driveway a bit farther down from the school on Second House Road. It lived around her yard for a while, gobbling up all the food Ms. Kuntz threw to it.

Finally, the goose moved on toward the pond and tried to form a relationship with a family of swans but was shunned. It decided to join the Canada geese again and received a warm welcome from the new parents. Now, the goose, whose gender cannot be detected unless examined but who goes by Gracie the Goose, helps guard the family when it crosses the road.

The owner of Lighthouse Landscaping, Ms. Kuntz said it had been a rough winter for wild animals. She and others in the landscaping business found an unusually large number of deer and bird carcasses in the spring.

“It’s just something that happens in nature, and this winter really weeded out the weak,” she said.

But Gracie, who Ms. Kuntz thinks lost her way from a petting zoo or horse ranch, is doing fine and watches over the goslings as if they were her own. They can usually be seen at the water’s edge on the eastern corner of Industrial Road.

Jane Bimson
Jane Bimson