Boris and Natasha

Our Nine-Year Adventure with Two Wonderful Birds

Boris and Natasha

Reading Time: 3 minutes

By Jay Winslow – The call came from the post office first thing in the morning. “We have a package for you with live animals. Please pick it up as soon as possible.” Margaret and I hopped in the car, drove to the post office, and picked up our package. On the way home, we soon heard a “peep, peep, peep” coming from the box. This was good, and we heard it several times, but it was only one bird peeping. A little later, though, we heard another “peep, peep, peep” at a lower pitch, and we both cheered. We had two live geese in our box! 

Thus began our nine-year adventure with two wonderful birds. 

We named the goslings Boris and Natasha after the characters Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale in Rocky and Bullwinkle. The names turned out to fit their personalities well because Boris was very “allow me to introduce myself,” and Natasha was more reserved and sultry. 

Boris and Natasha were a constant delight, from their honking and wing flapping when they first left the barn in the morning to their gentle nibbles on my fingertips when I said goodnight to them in the evening. Just watching them waddle across the driveway to their pen for the day always made us smile. 

Boris was more vocal than Natasha, and he would sound off whenever I called his name, whenever we had a visitor, or for no discernible reason at all. They were always together, and Boris jealously guarded Natasha and became agitated when he couldn’t see her, even for a few seconds. When she nested in wait for an egg, Boris paced back and forth, ready to protect her. 

Good guard geese, Boris and Natasha once chased a bear out of our yard. Boris also considered it his duty to approve any tools or equipment we carried near him. Shovel, watering can, rake, or ladder, Boris ran over, gave the item a nip, and then honked his approval so we could go on our way. 

They both loved their baths. They splashed, dunked head first, and preened in their tubs. Sometimes they would suddenly leap out of the water, run around the tubs honking and flapping their wings, and then leap back in the water, switching tubs in the process. 

When we were outside working, the geese would follow us and watch what we were doing. They walked down to where I was raking leaves, watched for a while, and then walked back up the hill to help Margaret with the weeding, which consisted of evaluating each weed as it was put in the bucket and pulling out the tasty ones for a snack. 

Boris and Natasha are gone now. Their pen and bathing tubs are empty. Their boisterous yet elegant presence is missing from our lives after almost a decade. But we have many happy memories that will always make us smile and be grateful that we knew them. 

Originally published in the April/May 2021 issue of Backyard Poultry and regularly vetted for accuracy.

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