Lady Katherine Feeding and a Squabble Between Geese, September 30

Katie, aka Lady Katherine, is a female mute swan that showed up at White Rock Lake a little over a year ago. K didn’t think that the name “Katie” suited the swan, so I suggested that we call her Lady Katherine. She’s a lonely bird; she spent most of last fall and winter following the geese around. She had a sexual relationship with a goose called Patches, although their union was not fruitful. K was extremely disturbed by their coupling, and even I was a little squicked out by the cross-species thing. Of course, if two birds of mature age consent to unconventional sexual practices, who am I to condemn them?

A mute swan (Cygnus olor) forages for food at White Rock Lake in Dallas, TX

Oh my god, Lady Katherine! Have you been foraging near the nuclear power plant?

Now that fall is here, the ganders are ready to start mating. The hens, however, are not as enthusiastic.

Two geese attempt to mate at White Rock Lake in Dallas, TX


Sometimes I wonder whether certain gestures that my goose friend Mister Mary Mack performs in front of me are courting signals. If they are, he has been a gentleman about respecting my boundaries. I am not Lady Katherine; I am only interested in mating with my own species.