Smithsonian Goose Story

Smithsonian magazine cover story on geese by Paul Theroux

“I loved the size of geese, their plumpness, their softness, the thick down, the big feet of fluffy just-born goslings, the alertness of geese—sounding an alarm as soon as the front gate opened; their appetites, their yawning, the social behavior in their flocking, their homing instinct, the warmth of their bodies, their physical strength, their big blue unblinking eyes. I marveled at their varieties of biting and pecking, the way out of sheer impatience a goose wishing to be fed quickly would peck at my toes, just a reminder to hurry up; the affectionate and harmless gesture of pecking if I got too close; the gander’s hard nip on the legs, the wicked bite on my thigh, which left a bruise. I also marveled at their memory, their ingeniousness in finding the safest places to nest; their meddling curiosity, always sampling the greenery, discovering that orchid leaves are tasty and that the spiky stalks of pineapple plants are chewable and sweet.”

Read the full story at