As I mentioned in a previous post, when in close proximity, Canada geese (Branta canadensis) goslings will form large groups. These nursery groups, or creches, provide protection for the chicks (safety in numbers) and teach them how to work as a group (important during migration). Usually one pair tends the crèche while the other parents remain nearby. I always think of a crèche as the Canada goose version of a play date.
Recently at Baum Lake (Shasta County CA) I photographed a crèche that contained goslings of different ages. On the left are the oldest chicks, the youngest are in the center of the group and to the right the chicks are slightly older than the youngest ones. This crèche moved onto the water, and as they swam I was able to count seventeen goslings in the group.
I thought this was a good illustration of how different Canada goose clutches combine to form a crèche. Since the goslings are different sizes, they cannot have come from the same nest.