Bella & Beau 2018: And Then There’s Gus

(Osprey nest location:  Cambridge, Maryland, USA)

Bella & Beau’s last post showed some occurrences with the passing of enemies overhead or around their nest, and their response.  There’s one other daily regular resident, that swims continuously up and down the creek and around the base of Bella & Beau’s nest.  It’s a Canada Goose, we’ll call him Gus.

Early on, I started photographing Gus from my balcony as he swam around the marinas.  He has always been alone.  Poor fella!

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Canada Goose “Gus”


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Canada Goose “Gus”


It became evident that the creek was where Gus hung out, at least during the day as I knew.  There has been issues of another pair of Canada Geese flying in and trying to swim around the creek also, but Gus has always chased them away.

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Gus chasing off a pair of Canada Geese


The pair were persistent day after day, purposely staying off to their own little marina area.  But once Gus caught sight of them, he would immediately start honking loud flying towards them, quickly making them move on.  One afternoon turned a little ugly.

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Gus attacking the other male while the female gets out of the way


Gus would not give up on his quite loud assault


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Bella and Beau had a front-row seat and intently watched all the commotion


Finally, Gus drove the pair into flight and out of the creek…..


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…..which was followed by Gus’ happy dance.


I haven’t seen the pair of Canada Geese since, and it’s been over a week now.

Remember, Bella and Beau intently watched this all take place.  Never before had I seen any issues with Bella & Beau and Gus.

Until a few days later.

Gus was doing his usual swim along the center of the creek early morning.  While Beau was incubating, Bella was preening on the nest perch.  When Bella saw Gus, she screeched out so loud and immediately left the nest.  (She certainly got my attention from inside!)

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Bella heading to Gus the Goose


Bella swooped down at Gus in attack.  Gus retaliated.

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Bella circled around and swooped down again…..

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….and again, not letting up.  Neither did Gus.

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Gus in his defense stance


Eventually, Bella prevailed, driving Gus into flight and chasing him out of the creek.


Gus returned later that day but stayed further down the creek away from the nest.  But most days since, I’ve seen Gus swimming again around the base of Bella and Beau’s nest with no peep from them.

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Go figure, huh?!!

I have a feeling this isn’t the last of the commotions between the Osprey and the Canada Goose.  Especially once there are chicks in the nest.  Bella & Beau will kick into overdrive in protecting their babies.

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Another profile of Gus the Goose


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Gus the Goose back in his domain at sunset


Let’s hope Gus can get along with Bella and Beau throughout the summer, or we’re in for some trying times for Gus.  Those talons of Bella and Beau’s look a little too sharp to fool with to me.

(Another post will be forthcoming to update you on Bella & Beau before the expected April 15-21 first hatching.)


(For all the posts on Bella & Beau’s 2018 season, you can click HERE.)



45 thoughts on “Bella & Beau 2018: And Then There’s Gus

  1. Great report Donna! There’s a lot of comedy and some drama. You photo at the very bottom is simply gorgeous! Very artistic composition… 🙂

  2. Great captures of the dust-up of Gus with the Canada Goose pair! And wow, what a surprise that an Osprey would go that far to push a Goose away. Very interesting and glad you have a front row seat!

    • Thank you, Ellen, there’s quite a bit of entertainment I get to enjoy from my balcony. My trouble is getting stuff done when I can hear and know something’s askew in the creek, lol. Ahhh, but I love the mornings with a cup of coffee and my front row seat. 🙂

  3. Wow! Great action shots! Gus is quite the disturber, I wonder if he has a mate hidden away nearby on a nest. Time will telI. I just hope that Bella and Beau don’t get over – stressed. I am rooting for them. Nice composition at end and lovely light in the first.

    • Thank you, Jane! I wondered too if Gus had a female hidden away nearby, but I’ve been watching him be alone for over a month now. Incubation is 23-28 days. So hmmmmm, not sure, just yet, but maybe not likely. And thanks for the rooting for B&B!

  4. How exciting not only to see all that action, but to capture it so well! Kudos to you and I bet there was some happy dancing going on behind the camera! 😀

    • Thank you, Gunta, B&B sure are entertaining, I love watching their personalities unfold between the two….and the looks Bella throws at Beau sometimes? Priceless. 🙂 Great shots always make me happy dance, thanks to B&B’s antics!

  5. A great story told through excellent images! I’ve watched birds defending their territories before and have attempted to figure out what sets them off, I think that some days, the birds are just in a bad mood as when the osprey chased the goose away, when most days they tolerate its presence.

    • Thank you, Jerry! I agree, it’s the mood of the certain defending birds sometimes and this happening I photographed was a perfect example. And guess what? They attacked Gus again one swoop, and it really just seemed like for the heck of it, to make Gus squawk, lol. Which he did.

  6. Great action shots of interaction with two bold birds Donna. The Canada Goose is becoming a problem in northern hemisphere countries as it takes over habitat of other water birds, and is becoming the ‘waterbird myna, due to its successful aggressive breeding.

    • Thank you Ashley! The southeast U.S., I’ve seen in the summers even in South Carolina and Florida where Canada Geese are becoming year-round residents, sometimes taking over parks with pond/lake areas. They’ll chase people AND take & leave huge messes on the lawns. I hadn’t thought about the loss of other birds’ habitats as well but so true!

  7. Absolutely amazing captures, Donna! I have witnessed a few Canada Goose fights. But the addition of the Ospreys and their nest and that relationship to the goose is mind-boggling. Earlier in the year sometimes a lone gander might mean a dad patrolling the waters to keep intruders away from his goose’s nest, something else I have witnessed. But the geese should be done breeding by now. Of course who knows with the way the weather keeps changing? It must be even more confusing to the birds than it is to us.

    • Thank you, Lisa, for your comments! I’ve been watching Gus now for 35 days so I’m guessing there is no partner. But I am keeping my eyes opened just a little longer just in case. I would love to see goslings!

  8. Wonderful series of photos, well done. I’m still worried about Bella & Beau’s nest. There doesn’t seem to be any significant progress.

    • Thanks David! I am worried too. I know the nest cup is well lined but the pair cannot seem to get the nest going. So many sticks just fall to the dock and water. For easy-pickings, no less, but not taken. 😦 They definitely need nest height/edging to gate the youngster(s) in.

  9. Outstanding!!! Not only the pictures but the story line. I can’t wait to hear the next episode. By the way, love the first photo with the reflection. Nothing like calm water to double the impact!

    • Thank you, Susan! You were right on a previous comment, there is so much entertainment on the creek, with birds or without birds. The calm waters and boat reflections have been awesome. Although I am enjoying the bird activity quite well! 🙂

  10. Oh, this is so much fun. Your shots are so significant and your narrative as well and especially so vivid. I can relive the scene.

    • So loved your comments, Alix, I am hoping I can portray what is going on best I can. Bella & Beau are doing all the entertainment and just living a day at a time! Please, just build a strong nest, I tell them. 🙂

  11. You captured some tense moments, Donna. I have seen Canada Geese pairs fight other geese during breeding season, and am always amazed, as they tend to be so peaceful in large groups in the winter. But going against an osprey is in another league. I hope Gus will not sustain any serious injuries.

    • I think Bella has let Gus know that this is HER territory, so he’d better behave or else. Several years ago I watched another Osprey nest on a daily basis for a few years. That pair also attacked a Canada Goose that wanted to rest in the cove, mind its own business. They also would attack Great Blue Herons. Seemed like the Osprey did not like other large birds around them. Ducks were okay any day, lol.

  12. Poor Gus! He reminds me little of the younger Blue Heron at our marsh, who attacked the nest when he was younger. I hope Bella and Beau will trust him not to attack the nest when their babies hatch.

    • Well…..Bella tried to attack Gus again but this time with only one swoop before going for flight break. I think she’s just letting Gus know who’s the boss on the creek. 🙂 It was kind of funny, Gus took off in flight down the creek and re-landed at a safer distance. I think he’s getting the idea. 🙂

  13. Interesting story and great set of photos. For the Osprey it’s “peace through strength”. I find that the resident geese are more arrogant and brazen than their migrating cousins.

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