Why Bother Living Peaceably With Our Neighbors?

Why Bother Living Peaceably With Your Neighbor? 

Every spring I anticipate the return of a pair of ospreys to their old nest located at the top of a tall pole near my house. From whence they come, I do not know. How they find their way back to the same nest is also a mystery. But since their home is in my neighborhood, like any good neighbor, I notice their comings and goings. 

From any of the south-facing windows of my house, I can observe these birds of prey as they work to add fresh sticks and seaweed to refurbish their weather-worn home they abandoned the previous fall. And though the air is filled with the sound of robins, and chickadees, I like the high pitched whistle like call of the osprey best of all. In the early mornings and late afternoons, I marvel at how the male bird brings home the supper, a fish for the female who sits vigilantly upon the eggs protecting them from any harm. In essence, Every spring I get to observe the routine of a pair of ospreys as they live their life in my neighborhood.

Unexpected Conflict

Last year, I noted on my calendar that the return of the osprey occurred on April 8. But this year, April 8, came and went with no sign of them. Instead, I watched as a pair of geese made the old osprey nest their home. 

Geese are plentiful in our area. From my writing roost on the second floor of our home, I often watch out my window as the geese land in the park nearby to meet up with their mates. Geese are so plentiful in our area that people find them to be more of a nuisance than a wonder of nature. For one thing, their scat litters our city beach and complaining tourists led city workers to attempt to get rid of them. First they purchased plastic coyotes to try and scare the geese away. But the geese didn’t even notice them. Then they discussed the idea of robbing the nests and discarding the eggs. Too many residents were outraged by that idea. Finally, they decided to round up the birds and relocate them. I literally ran into the fiasco on one of my early morning runs. It was an amusing sight to watch, kind of like herding cats or kindergartners.   

None-the-less, a pair of geese were making a home out of the osprey nest. I wondered how the goslings would learn to swim so high up in the air and quite a distance from the water. My husband made a good point when he said that they’d have to learn to fly before they swam. Still concerned for the osprey, I wondered where they were and what they would do when they returned to find their home already occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Goose?

I did not have to wait long. A few days later I noticed an osprey soaring above their old nest and swooping low as though he was going to land on top of the geese that occupied his home.  The osprey was aggressive and the geese ducked with every passing of the bird of prey. But the geese did not leave their nest. 

The next day was the same. The osprey attacked the geese by swooping in fast and low and once again the geese ducked, but did not give up their home. The third day, when I came home from work, I asked my husband, “Who won? The geese or the osprey?”

He pointed to a new pole. “The electric company planted a another pole with a box on top and the osprey moved in.”

What good neighbors we have, I thought. The electrical substation is in our neighborhood too and when they noted the trouble between the geese and osprey, they brought in their resources and restored the peace. Now Mr. and Mrs. Osprey live quietly beside their new neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Goose.

I think on Monday I will deliver some cookies to the guys at the electric company and tell them thank you for helping out. After all, that would be the neighborly thing to do.  

Why bother living peaceably with our neighbors? It is a lot better to live in peace than to live in contention. 


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