Goslings Galore

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. 🙂

61 thoughts on “Goslings Galore

  1. I like ‘downy mound’ Tanja. As I looked at the photos I thought of ‘happy huddle’ 😀 Congrats on six years and I’ve enjoyed your posts very much since I joined the WP scene!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Little sweet wonders of nature – lets your heart melt!
    I only learned recently, that the the youngsters of ducks and geese are able to feed themselves right from the beginning.
    Kindest regards,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great question, Neil. I haven’t really heard that they do. I think some people consider them a nuisance because they take over golf course and soccer fields for grazing and in return leave little presents in the grass. They can also pose problems near airports as some have flown into airplanes and caused crashes.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Happy six. The ancient Greeks considered 6 a perfect number because if you add up all the smaller numbers that go into it you get 6. The proper divisors of 6 are 1, 2, and 3, and sure enough, 1 + 2 + 3 = 6. If you want to have your perfection reinforced, you’ll have to keep posting for 22 more years: 1 + 2 + 4 + 7 + 14 = 28.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Congratulations on your blog anniversary, Tanja! Right now we have hundreds and hundreds of greylag geese and Canada geese on our lake meadow (our second home this past year) with their goslings of all ages, from newborns to those who are already half the size of their parents. They are really cute as can be, and you just yearn to pick them up and cuddle with them.
    All the best, Meggie

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Meggie.
      I can only imagine how lovely it would be to step outside the front door and have baby geese on one’s lake all the time. I can relate to your desire to cuddle them, as I am always tempted to as well.
      Enjoy your summer at the lake.


  5. Herzlichen Glückwunsch, liebe Tanja. Auf dass du noch lange Freude am Bloggen hast.
    Die kleinen Küken und Gössel sind allerliebst.
    Gestern sah ich kleine Schwäne, Graugänse, Stockenten, Brandgänse und Teichhühner. Es war entzückend.
    Leider kann ich mich zur Zeit nicht aufraffen zu Bloggen.
    Ich glaube, Corona hat mir den Elan geraubt.
    Ich hoffe, dass er wieder kommt wenn ich wieder unbeschwert reisen kann.
    Dir wünsche ich eine gute Zeit und hoffentlich auch bald wieder eine Deutschland Reise.
    Viele liebe Grüße

    Liked by 1 person

    • Danke, liebe Brigitte. Ich hatte Deine Auswahl and Enten und Gänseküken schon bewundert bevor ich Deinen Kommentar las. Bei uns gibt es im Sommer hier nur Kanadagänse und Stockenten, die ihre Kinder kriegen, aber sie machen immer große Freude.
      Ich hoffe der Elan kommt wieder und die Zukunft wird etwas weniger stürmisch für uns alle.
      Herzlichen Gruß,

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dankeschön, Tanja.
        Heute habe ich mich ja mal wieder aufgerappelt und einen Beitrag gepostet.
        Ich hoffe auch, dass es ein wenig freundlicher wird auf unserem kleinen Erdball.
        Allein, mir fehlt der Glaube .
        Liebe Grüße

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ich kann Deine skeptische Haltung (leider) gut nachvollziehen, liebe Brigitte. Weshalb Du und ich wahrscheinlich so viel Zeit in der Natur mit Pflanzen und Tieren verbringen wie möglich.
        Bleib gesund.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Who could resist? I love chicks and ducklings but have never seen goslings. What a lovely series of images.

    I’d be spending half the day admiring and observing (them) if I was in your shoes.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, but I don’t live in the country or on a farm, Tanja. 🙂 My brother has chickens, 2 horses and his dog on his 10-acre plot only.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Both in Germany and here, geese can be found in both rural and urban areas. I guess I made an assumption that the same was true for Australia, but apparently not. I thought there might be a few in the nature preserve behind your house. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • I saw (what I think were) 2 Cape Barren Geese in the Royal Botanic Gardens once and there may well be geese in large urban back yards in with chicken coops, but I know urban council laws don’t allow this sort of thing in the small front or back yards most urban developments these days. With COVID and job loss, I know there’s been a surge of gardening purchases last year, but not sure about poultry. I was brought up on a quarter acre block with fruit trees and a large veggie garden, but I don’t remember us having chickens (considering my Mother grew up on a dairy farm in northern Tasmania). Geese aren’t as common as chickens in Australia to my knowledge. We eat chickens (regularly) and Turkey (at Christmas only).

        Liked by 1 person

      • I looked up the Cape Barren Geese, Vicki, and find them very handsome.
        Your childhood garden sounds very attractive, though I’m sure it was a lot of work. I wasn’t fond of garden chores as a child, but would enjoy fruit trees and a vegetable garden today.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Ah….Just the sweetest. I look forward to watching them each year at the Audubon, but reading your post I realized I had never seen a goose nest…Just the little ones following each other on the water or in the meadow.
    Congrats on six years of writing!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Julie. I usually get lucky and see a few nests in the spring. As I learned in Heinrich’s book, the parents often take the goslings away from the nesting site after only a day or two to raise them elsewhere, at times miles away. It’s something I had never thought about and it astounded me, as the little goslings often have to waddle for miles to get to their new nursery.


  8. Hello Tanja,
    As you say, only the hardest of hardened hearts would “not” be moved at the sight of these adorable goslings. From reading some of the comments, I too find it amazing how these little ones must journey quite a distance to reach their new home…

    Congratulations on six years, and always looking forward to your next post 🙂

    Best wishes from Japan,

    Liked by 1 person

  9. You may have birds on the brain, but you certainly are no ‘bird brain’! Congratulations on your six years, and best wishes for many more!

    I must say, these goslings are adorable. I’ve never seen any; we have ducks aplenty, both wild and domestic, but the only geese I’ve seen have been too busy spitting at people and chasing them to get down to making babies. I’m sure there must be goslings somewhere, but for now I’m going to have to make do with yours.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. How lovely! It’s hard for us to miss the Canada geese arriving, in formation and with loud honking, over our house. The last time I saw any this close up was when we camped on the shore of Lake Windermere, so your post brought back very happy memories 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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