Karma cooked the goose.
Something got our male goose last night. I just realized that the gander was pacing the fence line all alone and when I went a-lookin', I found me a pile of feathers. No blood, no body or its parts; just nice white feathers.
We're not entirely sure what it is, but are starting to suspect a small coyote. We've been losing hens in the same way. I'd been thinking it might have been the eagles or the big hawks that have been around, but I think that the predator must be attacking on the ground, rather than in the air, because the male goose would have been more likely to stand up to the predator and attempt to protect both geese, thereby losing its life. With the water levels low right now, the fencing over the streams isn't good. Even the sheep have been sneaking through.
A coyote kills and plucks, and then takes the rest of the animal back to the den. This is consistent with what we are seeing.
I guess that enough time has passed since this goose attacked my child, because I'm feeling bad. I've been enjoying looking out at the pond and seeing the two of them sunning themselves. The male goose LOVED the water, and although he hadn't actually gone swimming, he would jump in and out of the sheep's water tub, splashing and flapping and then running like a lunatic around the field.
Also, as is the case in any death, I feel particularly sad for those who are left behind. Watching the gander right now is breaking my heart. I don't know how much we personify this experience for them, though, or what she is capable of thinking and feeling. But... the poor thing.
To sum it up.... when I called B.Rube at work to tell him, he ended our conversation with "That's Life on the Farm." Yep, I guess it is.