Two is Company, Three’s a Crowd: A Wild Goose Tale
Story and Pictures by Berta and Elmer Hader
This children’s book was published by The Macmillan Company, New York 1965. Amy Clampitt, in her capacity as former librarian at the Audubon Society, was asked to contribute an afterword.
Reading about Big John and Annabelle and their farm has been fun, but what makes their story all the better is that it is not just make-believe. It tells of what really does happen. And the same thing goes on happening, year after year, not only in the northern plains where Big John and Annabelle love but in other places as well.
Many wild geese of the same kind the Haders show us in their lovely and accurate pictures build their nests far to the north, in Newfoundland and Labrador and around Hudson Bay. Others have chosen nesting places as far south as California, Utah, and Nebraska. In a good many of these places, friends of the wild geese, like the Governor and the Commissioner of Wildlife in the story, have made the land into refuges for geese and for other wild birds. Some of the refuges are no larger than the farm in the story. Others stretch for miles and miles over the marshy country where geese are most at home.
When the wild geese of the story flew south in the fall, they might have been on their way to a wintering place on the coast of Texas or Louisiana. Other wild geese spend the winter along the Atlantic coast, and still others fly all the way to Mexico. In between, there are places where geese stop to rest and feed on the way, just as they do at the beginning of the story. In the west, one of the biggest of these resting places is a Bear River National Refuge, north of the Great Salt Lake in Utah.
In the east, one of the best places to see wild geese—especially during the fall and winter—is at Mattamuskeet National Wildlife Refuge, on the coast of North Carolina. There are hundreds of others. Anyone who would like to know about those nearest home can find out by writing to the state Department of Conservation at his own state capitol, or to the United States Fish and Wildlife Services in Washington, D.C.
If you visit one of these refuges in the fall or winter you may see the geese being fed corn raised by nearby farmers, just as Big John and Annabelle do for the geese that come to their farm.
National Audubon Society