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Issue 27: March 2007

In This Issue:

  Goose Entertainment
  Pre-Order Bob Tarte's New Book
Fowl Weather
  Postage Stamps Needed
  Get to Know Your Predators:
The Skunk
  The Month in Photos!
  Recommended Reading:
Three Good Deeds
  Reader Poll #27
  Results of Reader Poll #26

Postage Stamps Needed

A vital part of our existence is letting the right people know where to find us should a waterfowl emergency arise.

While handling a few recent rescues, we discovered that people who have stumbled upon domestic waterfowl in desperate situations have had a difficult time finding help.

Unaware of our sanctuary, many people are contacting their local animal control officers, SPCA, Humane Society, DEP, wildlife rehabbers and various other animal groups only to be turned away without further direction. We understand that many of these groups do not have the facilities to assist in domestic waterfowl situations, but we must get the word out to them that we are here should people need us. This will enable us to react quickly when a duck or goose's life is in danger.

For this reason, beginning with the state of CT, we are immediately mailing out our contact information to as many of these organizations as we can find (over 170 in CT alone) to keep on hand for emergencies.

If anyone can spare $.39 stamps, please send as many as you can to assist us in this urgent endeavor.

Get to Know Your Predators: The Skunk

A skunk weighs in at about fourteen pounds and they will eat eggs or ducklings.

As with opossums, motion sensor lights are helpful, but I am NOT going to recommend a good guard dog…

The Month in Photos!

Hildey & the boys!

Recommended Reading*

Ordering information |

Three Good Deeds
By Vivian Vande Velde

When a local witch sees the boy Howard stealing eggs from the geese that she tends, she decides that he needs a lesson so she changes him, fittingly, into a goose. Correctly discerning that Howard rarely thinks of others, the witch refuses to return him to human form until he has done three good deeds.

Howard's learning to be a goose is almost a full-time job, and it comes with unexpected, occasionally poignant setbacks, such as when his friends don't recognize him. Of course, Howard fumes, frets, and schemes to get around the curse, but he eventually stumbles into a good deed and feels the pleasure of doing right, if only briefly.

Although Howard doesn't change dramatically, by the close of his uncomfortable lesson he has begun to think more about those around him -- both the human and the feathered kind. With well-spaced print, plenty of dialogue, a strong dose of humor, and more invention than many books written at this level, this goose tale is a nicely accomplished, entertaining read, with strong potential for reading aloud to younger children.

* For our full recommended reading list, click here. If you order from Amazon by way of our website, Majestic receives a portion of the proceeds!

Reader Poll #27 (Double Poll!)

Question 1: Are you going to read Bob Tarte's new book Fowl Weather?


Voting Has Closed.
Please see next issue for results.

Question 2: Have you read Bob Tarte's first book Enslaved by Ducks?


Voting Has Closed.
Please see next issue for results.

Results of Reader Poll #26

What behavioral problem(s) are you currently experiencing with your waterfowl? (Listed in order of most frequent response to least)

Attacking humans
Attacking other animals
Attacking other waterfowl
Making too much noise
Not going in shelter at night
Not coming out of the water

Contact Us

Majestic Waterfowl Sanctuary
17 Barker Road
Lebanon, CT 06249

Our Newsletter

The Majestic Monthly is published 12 times per year. Previous issues are available in our Archives.


Goose Entertainment

Just when we thought we’d heard it all, we received this email from a concerned goose owner:

I have a different question. We have a new 36' Motor home that my two wonderful geese (one a Toulouse and one an African Brown) seem to be obsessed with. They stand at the shiny wheels and would peck for 24 hours if I did not put them away at night. It is driving my husband crazy. Of course, the new emblems that are less than 3' from the ground are off. Any suggestions on some type of animal alarm? Valium for my husband when he comes home and finds out that they have pecked the tires off?
-- Thanks, Myrna

Our first suggestion to remedy the situation was to place tire covers over the source of intrigue -- especially the shiny hubcaps that are reflecting images and attracting so much attention. Our second suggestion was to introduce enrichment activities to the geese to draw them away from the motor home:


Mirrors are a great distraction and source of entertainment for ducks and geese alike. They can be used to cheer up a lonely single bird, especially after the loss of a flock mate.



Cups of Water

Ducks and geese see in color, so use colors to intrigue them. You can partially fill a colored cup with water to interest and entertain your investigative birds. You can add a snack to the water for even more fun.



A small ball (3” in diameter or larger) on the ground or on their pond can entertain a bored goose.




Parrot Toys

Some geese are entertained with parrot toys or baby toys--especially if it has pieces they can tug on, or if they include unbreakable mirrors. Avoid toys with small pieces or metal parts that can be broken off and ingested, or remove these dangerous parts before giving the toy to your goose. Don’t be afraid to modify toys to make them safe for your playful goose. (Photo of Omalie Courtesy of Chantal)

Plush Animals

Some geese enjoy playing with plush animals, especially those who are introduced to them and taught to cuddle with them as goslings. Be certain eyes, choking hazards, etc. can not be removed and stuffing is both non-toxic and non-hazardous.


Mirrors and Gadgets

Find toys with mirrors and things to peck at -- some even make noises like Leap Frog’s See & Learn Piano!



Lettuce Maze

Insert leaf lettuce into a toy with holes in it, so the geese have to work to get their healthy snacks. Be careful not to make holes too small, so bills don’t get stuck. You can also find treat balls that roll and drop goodies on the ground behind them.


Tire Toys

For those geese who just can’t resist pecking at tires…well, there is an answer -- tire biters! Tough chew toys intended for dogs. These toys should keep any fixated geese busy and away from your beloved motor home. Another option is tire feeders, although holes may need to be enlarged for safe removal of treats.

Remote Control Toys

Both land and water remote control toys can be fun as long as they are introduced slowly and with extreme caution. Don’t scare your goose! First let them investigate the toy when it is not operating. Slowly introduce subtle motion when they are at a distance to peak their curiosity.

Rubber Duckies

Colorful objects (no small parts or removable pieces) can also inspire interest and promote investigation. You can float rubber ducks on their pond, in their water bucket or even place them on land.


Fun, Fun, Fun!

Rotate toys in and out of play to keep things from getting dull. Remember to take care before leaving your goose alone with any toy. Avoid toys with sharp edges or breakable pieces. Consider that some toys are best used only when you are around, depending on the personality of your goose and the quality and design of the toy.

Thanks for your email, Myrna, and good luck!

* Some of the products featured in this article are available through Sanctuary Supplies (www.sanctuarysupplies.com). Click on “Zoo Enrichment” in the “Products” menu bar. When placing an order, consider sending some enrichment toys to the ducks and geese at Majestic!

Bob Tarte's New Book Available for Pre-Order!
Pre-Order a copy of Bob Tarte's new book Fowl Weather at Amazon.com by clicking on the "Pre-order this item today" button below and Majestic will receive a portion of the proceeds!

On the web-footed heels of Enslaved by Ducks (2003), Tarte serves up another helping of his always interesting life surrounded by animals.

From the first chapter, when Stanley Sue, a parrot, is discovered chewing up the wooden bread box, the reader is plunged into the often chaotic world of the Tartes, in which Bob is obsessing about the hose demon or the whereabouts of his mother's lost purse and wife Linda is popping another gel pack into the microwave to soothe her bad back.

Along the way we meet Lulu, a spoiled Pekin duck; Moobie, a large white cat who insists on Tarte holding her water bowl; and Bertie, a rabbit who lost his tail to Stanley Sue.

Mixed in with animal adventures are the realities of daily life, of alleged master gardeners who don't understand soil, and of Bob's mother, whose increasing signs of Alzheimer's disease weave a softly melancholy thread through the narrative. What Tarte discovers is that his animals give him his center and focus and that for all the headaches they can cause, they also provide a form of sanity.

Also Available: Bob Tarte's First Book, Enslaved By Ducks

Knowing little about animals, Tarte and his wife naively acquire Binky, an impish bunny, at an Easter bunny fair, little suspecting that it will soon dominate their lives and lead to a brigade of other winged and furred beasts.

After Binky, they get a canary, then Ollie, an orange-chin pocket parrot, whom they return because he flings his water-logged food all over their floor and accosts them with calls and bites. Then they buy a more docile gray-cheek parakeet, which makes the Tartes realize they miss their raucous friend Ollie, whom they retrieve. Gluttons for punishment, the Tartes acquire a gender-confused African gray parrot named Stanley Sue, followed by ducks, geese, turkeys, parrots, starlings, more rabbits and cats. Every day brings an adventure or a tragedy to their Michigan country house.

With dead-on character portraits, Tarte keeps readers laughing about unreliable pet store proprietors, a duck named Hector who doesn't like water, an amorous dove named Howard, a foster-mother goose, patient veterinarians and increasingly bewildered friends. Tarte has an ordinary-Joe voice that makes each chapter a true pleasure, while revealing a sophisticated vision of animals and their relationship to humans.

(Photos and descriptions used by permission from Author, Bob Tarte)

       Majestic Waterfowl Sanctuary makes no representation, warranty, or guarantee in connection with any guidance provided on this website. Majestic Waterfowl Sanctuary expressly disclaims any liability or responsibility for loss or damage resulting from its use or for the violation of any federal, state or municipal law or regulation with which such guidance may conflict. Any guidance is general in nature. In addition, the assistance of a qualified professional should be enlisted to address any specific circumstances.

© Majestic Waterfowl Sanctuary 2007