FRIENDS OF WILBUR
Friends of Wilbur is a volunteer group dedicated to the nurture, care, and promotion of the geese, ducks, and other waterfowl at White Rock Lake, Dallas, TX.
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Last spring, Wilbur and 4 of his friends were taken from White Rock Lake.
One goose was returned with a slightly injured wing. Despite numerous media announcements and several false leads, the missing geese have not been found. The remainder of the gaggle went through several weeks of distraught behavior without their fearless leader. Eventually, they came together as a group and adapted to life without their friends. No one goose has emerged as a dominant leader. There are several mini-gaggles that have formed within the group. They all band together for their own safety and there are always designated geese who act as look-outs.
During the past few months, 5 new geese were added to the gaggle. Unfortunately, only 2 of these remain. In addition, some of the older geese have gone missing. We are assuming they were captured by either bobcat or coyotes.
Wilbur, a white Chinese goose, was the big gander that headed up a large gaggle of geese at the lake. He lived at the lake for many years. Most of the geese at White Rock Lake have been rescued from poor living conditions. These geese have been carefully rehabilitated and released at the lake. Some of the geese and ducks have been raised in volunteers' backyards.
Several varieties of geese reside permanently at the lake: Chinese, African, Toulose, Pilgrim, and Emden. These are domestic geese and do not migrate. Most cannot fly easily.
Friends of Wilbur strives to educate children and adults about these delightful waterfowl. Through nightly public feedings, many adults and even more children have come to appreciate the beautiful waterfowl of the lake. Children are taught how to feed and treat the birds. In turn, they are often rewarded by a big goose eating gently from their hand or a goose attempting to carry on a conversation with them.
It is our desire to repay these wonderful birds for the many hours of joy they provide for all of us.
Wilbur has several friends who look after the birds at the lake. Charles Fussell is the head "goose man." He has personally rescued most of the geese and rehabilitated them. Daily he feeds the ducks and geese to supplement nature's offerings. During colder months, he often puts out over 200 pounds of corn daily. Word quickly spreads among newcomers and just before sunset at Sunset Bay, hundreds of ducks and geese wait in the water and on the shoreline for Charles' arrival with the corn. He often resembles "The Pied Piper" as he walks to the shoreline with ducks often tugging at his jeans, all anxious for the food.
Charles is joined by several other friends who help feed the geese. The geese eagerly run to their favorite "friend" to get the whole-grain bread bites they have provided. It is a big social hour for birds and humans alike and has become a favorite time and place for nature photographers.
Annette Abbott has fostered several ducklings and a goose in her back yard. Annette is the designated "goose" photographer. Anna Palmer also contributes some terrific pictures.
The Tale of Wilbur and Priscilla
Wilbur and Priscilla were the reigning royalty of the goose gaggle. They were the clearly defined leaders and take their duties very seriously, constantly watching over, caring for, and training the other geese. Wilbur was a Chinese goose with beautiful blue eyes. Priscilla was a beautiful African goose with brown eyes. They were very friendly to people and loved eating crackers from your hand. Wilbur was especially fond of 7 grain honey bread. The natural diet of geese+
is grass but they love the whole grain breads supplementing their diet.
Sadly, Priscilla passed away in January, 2010. She is sorely missed. She was one of a kind! And, with Wilbur missing, it leaves a huge hole in the gaggle.
Wilbur Enjoying Crackers
Here, Wilbur eats crackers his favorite way....straight out of the package! He plowed through a package, leaving crumbs in the wake for the other geese to clean up.