Canada Geese Rising

Top Photo: Goslings resting at Sailboat Pond on May 15, two weeks after first being sighted in wetlands.

I first saw the pair of geese with 5 goslings in tow on the first day of May. They were swimming across the open water of our wetlands. Waterfowl in general are precocious, that is, they’re ready to go the day of, or day after they hatch.

The next time I saw them they had lost one their number. The four remaining geese have been paddling across our wetlands, walking, swimming and lounging throughout the north side of our campus ever since.

The following is a collection of photos from the first three months of their lives up to and including the eleventh day of August.


May 1

The first day. Note five goslings.
Tiny ball of down.

May 5

At the Sailboat Pond.
Mother and father watch over their, now, four goslings.

May 8

Browsing on buttercup along the path.
Mulberries are ripe and falling from tree.
Parents always nearby.

May 14

Hiking along a service road through the woods.
Up the hill at two weeks old (fourth gosling behind mom at rear).

May 15

Resting along the sidewalk at Sailboat Pond.
Still very much downy goslings.

May 22

On lawn at Butterfly House.
Resting in the grass.

May 23

Feeding in retention pond behind Earth Moves.

May 26

Walking the path in Explore the Wild.

May 27

On the path near the entrance to Catch the Wind.

May 29

Grazing in Catch the Wind.
Compare the size of mother and gosling approximately 28 days after hatching.

June 2

Hiking down service road on way to Cafe area.

June 5

At rest at Seed Tower in Catch the Wind.
Note the stubby little wings on the goslings.
Immature feathers showing through down.

June 11

Back at the retention pond behind Earth Moves.
Black neck and white chin starting to show through down.

June 15

A favorite stop, the Butterfly House lawn.
A month and a half’s growth.
The crew grazes its way across the lawn.
Under the event tent at Butterfly House.

June 19

Retention pond at Earth Moves was a frequent stop for the geese.
The family feeds in the small pond.

June 22

Behind the dumpster at rear of Cafe.

June 29

A near daily sight at the Sailboat Pond.
Side by side with adult (rear).
Paddling across the wetland pond.


Under a picnic table.
A stretch of a wing shows off fresh, full grown flight feathers.
Two adults (front and back) with immature bird in middle. Note barring on adult’s flanks and mottled feathers on immature bird’s flanks.

July 7

The birds are looking very much like their parents.

July 9

The Sailboat Pond has become the family’s favorite hangout.
Again, notice the difference in feathering on adult (left) and immature birds’ flanks.
Everybody out of the pool.

July 13

Two of the young birds at the edge of the pool.

July 14

After a morning feed, a preen and waste removal, they retreat to the water.
They spend many of their mornings at the pond.

July 23

Preening and resting below the boardwalk leading to Explore the Wild.

July 27

Parent watches over family in Sailboat Pond.

August 11

Over three months and a week from hatching, the geese favor the Sailboat Pond and can be found there most mornings.

The birds prefer the quiet of the Sailboat Pond before the opening bell.
How long before they leave us?

Though they can all fly at this point, they do most of their traveling on foot. As far as I’m aware, the young geese have only flown in and out of the Sailboat pond and across the small wetland pond in Explore the Wild. I’ll report here when they take their first flight out of and away from the museum.

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