It would take a hardened soul to resist the appeal of baby geese. Even someone with ambivalent feelings about Canada Geese whose numbers, already generous, are growing, likely could not resist a smile during an encounter with goslings. On the 0-100 cuteness scale, they easily score 110.
Many birds are born naked and are not particularly attractive until they have grown their feathers. Canada goslings, on the other hand, emerge from their eggs with their down already in place. As I recently read in Bernd Heinrich’s The Geese of Beaver Bog:
The just-emerged gosling looks matted and wet. But it is less wet than it appears since the strands of down feathers are pressed together by being enclosed in thin, horny sheaths. These sheaths are worn off through rubbing as the young become active under the belly of the mother. This rubbing results in “electrical loading” of the feathers, which causes the thin down plumes to repel each other and become uniformly spaced so that the gosling becomes fluffy, as is required for waterproofing.
As a consequence of their attire both beautiful and functional, the waterproofed goslings leave the nest when they are only one or two days young, already able to walk, swim, dive, and feed themselves.
And equally able to steal the heart of this observer with their round forms, cute faces, and fluffy feathers. Besides their endearing looks, their behavior is entertaining to watch: their waddling gait, frequent shaking, preening, and flapping of short, stubby wings. Not unlike human babies, short bursts of activity are interspersed with frequent naps, and who wouldn’t want to take a nap in close proximity to one’s soft, warm, downy sibling, even if that proximity makes napping a challenge, as it seems nearly impossible for all the young ones to remain still at the same time–there is always one who needs to stand, stretch, or stumble.
But in the end, everybody is settled, at least for the time being, and the downy mound of impossible cuteness is a source of utter joy for me to behold–and, I hope, for you as well.
To enlarge a photo, click on it.
Canada Goose nests are cup-like, made of plant material and lined with down. They are usually built near a pond, either on the ground or on top of a beaver lodge. Clutch size ranges from 2 to 8 eggs. The incubation period is 25 to 28 days. Only the female incubates the eggs. The nestling period lasts 42 to 50 days (according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Canada_Goose/overview.)
PS: It was six years ago, on June 9, 2016 (where does the time go?) that I published my first post on WordPress: https://tanjabrittonwriter.com/2016/06/09/monte-vista/. I had birds on my brain even then. 🙂