The One-Eyed Goose

Clooney Wm


Meet Clooney.


He appeared one morning, after a particularly stormy night. We’d been lying awake listening to the wind and rain and wondering how many more roof tiles might slip. Not that it was our problem: one of the benefits of living in a rented cottage, as we were at the time. But when I pushed back the curtains in the morning there he was, standing on the far side of the lake.

The resident geese were all lined up in the water and facing him head on. As was usual in such circumstances, Churchill led from the back. It was one of his heavies, Butch or Sundance, who would occasional paddle forward, menacingly, from the front line. Each time they did this Clooney would take a step back. These geese did not do “Welcome”.

Clooney stuck it out. He would give them a wide berth, but he didn’t fly off. He often stood with his head tilted over to one side and it wasn’t until he ventured close to the cottage one day that I discovered why. Clooney only had one eye. (I didn’t know this when I christened him George, honest!) Perhaps, with his poor eyesight, Clooney got separated from the rest of his flock and had been forced to land in the storm.


Chasing Clooney Wm


At feeding time, predictably enough, Clooney was shown the door.


But as the days went by, things settled into an edgy routine. Clooney would wait patiently under the horse chestnut tree while the rest of the geese got their corn. Because there, under the tree, I then gave him a little pile of his own. Feeding time became a long drawn out affair. I had to stand for several minutes between Clooney and the rest, otherwise they would creep up on his blind side and try to steal his meal.

Each evening the geese would then march past the cottage on a wrecking mission to the barn. Or on a raid of the chicken house, in case that should prove more fruitful. Clooney would follow, a customary 20 feet or so behind. Sometimes he would stop outside the cottage door while the others went on their way and, being the soft touch that I am, I would give him a little extra bit of corn.

It didn’t take the geese long to catch on. Clooney became a stooge. The main body of geese would go strutting past the cottage as usual but then pause in their journey just beyond the far wall. And wait. The second I stepped out of the kitchen with Clooney’s corn the ambush was complete. They came charging around the corner at both of us, a flurry of wings and indignant squawks.


I often wonder what subsequent tenants must have thought. Ducks waddling into the kitchen and leaving a whoopsie on the floor. Geese eyeballing them through the windows and rattling their beaks on the door. And a one-eyed Canada goose, standing on the doormat and refusing to leave.

I do hope they didn’t mind.


The One-Eyed Goose

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2017-11-07T19:45:05+00:00December 30th, 2012|Tags: |


  1. haggiz December 30, 2012 at 11:36 am - Reply

    Beautiful snowy photo and lovely story. Do you have any animals where you are now? Julie x

    • Jessica December 30, 2012 at 2:51 pm - Reply

      Not yet Julie, but I would love to in the future. Unless you count the wildlife that seems to have adopted us, like Ptolemy the pheasant!

  2. Simone December 30, 2012 at 12:21 pm - Reply

    ‘They would creep up on his blind side and try to steal his meal’ that really choked me up!!! Do you know what became of Clooney?

    • Jessica December 30, 2012 at 2:58 pm - Reply

      No, we never went back. I prefer to remember them as they were and not know about anything that might have happened to them since. They had enough food without me, because they foraged all over the farm. Plus they had the shepherd and the estate gardener looking out for them, so they were well cared for.

  3. Sue December 30, 2012 at 12:37 pm - Reply

    He sounds like a real character and I LOVE his name!!

    I bet the new folk thought they had entered a world of the mad geese, I would loved to have seen their faces when first faced with this wonderfully wacky daily ritual 🙂

    I wonder if the geese educated them ?

    Sue xx

    • Jessica December 30, 2012 at 3:06 pm - Reply

      It wouldn’t have taken them long to realise that the previous tenant might have fed the wildfowl from time to time! Perhaps when they found themselves under lockdown with a cordon of geese barricading the door?

  4. Em December 30, 2012 at 1:11 pm - Reply

    It’s so sweet that you have a picture of him and knew where to find it! Do you have geese now?

    • Jessica December 30, 2012 at 3:12 pm - Reply

      Not yet Em. We don’t actually have much grass, just a small lawn. Most of the land is woodland. So we would need to clear an area for them I think.

  5. John December 30, 2012 at 1:25 pm - Reply

    How did you sex clooney?
    I am still unsure of the sex of my 2 year old Canada goose, camilla.
    I am so glad someone else has a disabled bird….it’s not just me!
    He of the blind cockerel and the one eyed turkey

    • Jessica December 30, 2012 at 3:18 pm - Reply

      It was an educated guess John (see email).
      And I love your tales of Cogburn and Theresa.

  6. Vera December 30, 2012 at 3:28 pm - Reply

    George Clooney will never be the same for me ever again. Shadowing him will be Clooney. My imagination says that it will be so……..

    • Jessica December 30, 2012 at 5:37 pm - Reply

      Well, Clooney did get his name because I thought he was so handsome.. but nothing will distract from the real one!

  7. Natalie December 30, 2012 at 3:44 pm - Reply

    That’s a great story! Amazing how the goose did so well with one eye. He was lucky to have you looking out for him, too.

    • Jessica December 30, 2012 at 5:50 pm - Reply

      Thanks Natalie. I always hoped another flock of Canada geese would land nearby and he could join up with them. It was not to be, but he did learn how to fight his corner a bit so that was good. They have spirit those Canadians!

  8. ropcorn December 30, 2012 at 4:15 pm - Reply

    What a nice story, Clooney is so cute. 🙂 Is he still alive?

    You got a really lovely photo of the geese eating in the white snow by the way. 🙂

    • Jessica December 30, 2012 at 6:03 pm - Reply

      I don’t know if he’s still alive. I hope so. But we never went back to where we were living then.
      Now we just see Canada geese overflying the house, and they’re always called ‘Cloonies’!

  9. Rosie December 30, 2012 at 4:22 pm - Reply

    I love your goose stories, you could put them all together in a little book. Clooney sounds a great character. I can just imagine the new tenants – ‘Who was that at the door, dear?’ – ‘Oh, just a one-eyed goose!’ 🙂

    • Jessica December 30, 2012 at 6:14 pm - Reply

      Thanks Rosie. I hope the subsequent tenants got as much pleasure out of the livestock as me!
      I think I’ve exhausted the goose stories now, but have got a couple of piggy ones to come..

  10. CherryPie December 30, 2012 at 4:25 pm - Reply

    What a lovely story, I can just imagine them terrorising the new tenants.

    • Jessica December 30, 2012 at 6:16 pm - Reply

      Yes, me too! But rest safe in the knowledge that they wouldn’t have chosen to live in the cottage if they didn’t like geese.

  11. Jill Chandler. December 30, 2012 at 5:02 pm - Reply

    That was a really good story. Ptolemy! We have Big Daddy Pheasant, and Junior, then all the harem of wives. I painted a picture of two of the females squaring up called, ‘Handbags at Dawn.’ which I found funny but had to explain it to everyone else, which rather spoiled it. Hope you get some poultry ! More stories please.

    • Jessica December 30, 2012 at 6:27 pm - Reply

      I like the sound of your painting. The balance of our pheasant population is rather awry. I saw 12 males on the lawn over Christmas, 12, all at the same time. But so far only one female. Is she going to be popular or what?
      There are three other goose stories – click on the Geese tag!

  12. Denise January 1, 2013 at 5:44 pm - Reply

    You too Jessica 2013 is our silver wedding celebration and we are planning a tour of French wine regions – should be fun! I will bore you with the details over on my blog! lol! Oh and as for DIY – well a new bathroom and 3 bedrooms to redecorate/tart up (as we say ooooop North!) Fortunately I have you to inspire me lol!

    • Jessica January 1, 2013 at 6:15 pm - Reply

      The French wine region sounds excellent. Look forward to hearing all about that! You are going to have a busy year, and I hope it’s a good one Denise. Jx

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