April Means Goslings

April here in Big Valley (Modoc County CA) means Canada goose goslings. Every year Leonard and I anxiously await the first gosling sighting. Seeing these little yellow puffballs are a sure sign of spring. We enjoy watching the young geese grow until they finally undertake their training flights in the late summer.

Canada geese (Branta canadensis) often mate for life. The nest is usually on slightly elevated ground with nearby water and good visibility. However, they may nest on artificial platforms, on cliff edges or even in trees. Several years ago I observed a Canada goose pair as they successfully brooded in an osprey nest high above the ground. (see Sublet Osprey Nest 03-31-17) The usual nest is a slight depression with a shallow bowl of sticks, grass, weeds and moss lined with down.

The white eggs (often as many as 11 or more) become nest-stained during incubation by the female. During incubation the male stands guard nearby. The goslings hatch in 25 to 28 days. One or 2 days after hatching the goslings leave the nest. The young feed themselves but are attended by the parents. After 8 or 9 weeks the juvenile geese are ready to take their first flights.

We are fortunate to live in an area where we can enjoy this yearly drama.

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