Meet a Real-Life Father Goose

He rescued an abandoned Canada gosling six years ago and they've been together since.

Posted in , Aug 25, 2020

Baby Kyle in the car

You’ve heard Mother Goose stories. How about a heartwarming Father Goose story?

Once upon a time…well, one spring day in 2014, Mike Jivanjee was boating on Lake Oswego, near Portland, Oregon, with friends when they spotted a tiny Canada gosling in the water. “Mother geese do not typically leave goslings alone, so we knew that it was in trouble,” Mike said. They rescued it and found its family. But the mother rejected the gosling because it had a crooked foot.

Knowing that the baby bird would die on its own, Mike took it home and named it Kyle. “I decided I’d care for him until he was old enough to fly,” he says. “Boy, was I wrong!”

Mike was wrong about something else too. Kyle turned out to be a female.

Mike and Kyle paddleboardingThey spent a lot of time together in the water so Kyle would learn survival skills. “I’d hop on my paddleboard and have her swim after me,” Mike says. “Once she developed her flight feathers, she followed my boat.” Soon, the two were inseparable. If Mike walked into town for coffee or groceries, Kyle was right behind him. And every night, she tailed him home. Eventually, her bad foot straightened out.

Once Kyle could fly well and find food, Mike knew it was time for her to live independently. He drove to another lake nearby and released the one-year-old. “But when I got home, Kyle was sitting in my boat, waiting for me,” Mike says with a laugh.

In 2016 a male goose started hanging out in Mike’s yard. Kyle showed interest in the new visitor, who was dubbed Eugene. They had two goslings that year, but one was eaten by a fish soon after hatching. “Unfortunately, Kyle wasn’t that great of a mother,” Mike says. “She didn’t stay with her babies. I stepped in to keep the surviving gosling, Jack, safe from predators.”

Last year, Kyle had three more babies: Bravo, Delta and Echo. Echo was killed by a mink, but Bravo and Delta are still with Kyle and their older brother, Jack.

And Kyle is still with Mike. It’s not unusual to see the whole family chasing Mike’s boat, sometimes causing mischief. They have been known to steal things like wallets, keys and flip-flops and drop the items into the water. “They’re still wild animals, after all,” Mike says.

The rescued flock has gotten a lot of unexpected attention. “Kyle has made me very popular,” Mike says. “I try to use the spotlight to be an advocate for animal rights and raise money for school districts, animal rehab facilities and other charities.” His favorite thing to do is invite children with disabilities out to the lake to watch Kyle and her kids interact with him.

As much as Mike loves the geese, they do not consume his life. Last fall he spent six months in Hawaii. “The geese are self-sufficient, and neighbors messaged me to let me know they were doing fine,” he says.

When he returned to Oregon, all Mike had to do was let out a whistle by the lake for Kyle and her kids to show up. “Kyle is my best friend,” he says. “I feel like I was chosen to watch over her.”

Kyle’s family is expected to expand once again. She is currently nesting and will likely have goslings this year. We have no doubt that Father Goose will be close by.

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