She was an older goose — well into her teens, which is pretty old in the goose world. She had dirty gray feathers, a baritone voice that could carry for a half mile, and a bright-orange growth, roughly the size and shape of a walnut, over her upper beak.
I know that there is a long and embattled history surrounding Lucy, and that some local neighbors were upset about the noise and droppings, etc. Did this sentiment have something to do with her demise? News reports didn’t say. According to one account, she may have been the victim of an animal attack. I suppose that’s possible, though it wouldn’t have been easy for a creature to get her. She was fairly well-protected behind a fence, and often slept and rested in areas that were completely surrounded with water.
One of Lucy’s longtime fans told me that she used to live out near that big lagoon in Live Oak, once known for its large flock of loud, knee-pecking geese. According to one account, she was “dumped” in the harbor one day. Over the years, local publications have mentioned the controversy over Lucy’s noise and messes, mostly as an excuse to fold in every pun you can think of involving “fowl” and ruffled feathers, etc.
Lucy was not perfect. For one thing, she was lazy. Her trumpet was so loud you could hold your cellphone up to it, and it would hurt your listener’s ears. When she walked, she swung back and forth so much that she sometimes bowled herself over just walking up a hill. Lucy could go from retiring to aggressive and back again with little warning. Sometimes Lucy would preen for her fans, then turn her back on people or shout at them for no reason.
But she was part of the harbor landscape, and a testament to perseverance. Preferring her own company, she ate and played alone, but she was indulgent towards the people who served as her unofficial caretakers.
Even the tsunami storm could not drive her out of the channel for long.
Lucy will be missed.
I hope someone gets to the bottom of this soon.
(above: image of Lucy at full wingspan)