Breakfasting with four families of geese.Posted: May 25, 2012
Early in the morning, the geese families wake and make their way to the water where the feeding grounds lie. If you look closely, you will see that there are two geese families here: at the back of the group are two adults behind an older gosling. There is another adult near the front beside what looks to be another old gosling, and the babies are on the right front of the group. I suspect there may be a single parent here with the older goslings.
Two adults herd the babies across the water.
The youngest of the goslings are very soft and fuzzy and still look a little yellow. These babies are a little slow to form into a line.
Another family with goslings that are a little older moves into the water. These goslings are a little bigger, a little less yellow, and their necks are a little longer. The adult appears to be organizing the goslings into a single-file line.
He or she is successful. This is the formation we see other geese families use to move across the water: an adult at the front and back with the goslings in line in between. Where are they going?
To the feeding grounds across the lake. We see what looks like two ducks, seven adult geese and three age-groups of goslings hanging out at this spot near the water’s edge. I wonder what happened to the mate of the single adult.
The adults are adept at diving for food.
The oldest of the goslings are large in size and gray in color. They have lost most of their fluffiness.
They are able to find their own food and dive with competence.
The adult floats nearby completely unconcerned.
The middle group of goslings stays close to the adults.
They are hunting for their own food under the watchful eye of the adult.
They have learned how to dive,
and seem to want to practice.
The youngest of the goslings are shepherded between the two adults who gather food for them.
They move as a group from one adult
to the other, seeking food.
They huddle close to the adult when food is brought up. I couldn’t see the adult actually place the food in the babies’ mouths like mother birds do with their young. I’m wondering if the adults drop the food at the top of the water to teach the babies how to gather their own. I may need to look this up. Do you know?
Meanwhile, in the center of the lake, the childless singles, take to flight
and head for the skies.
Geese facts from Take Flight Goose Management, LLC:
Did you know that geese:
- eat more than 1-5 pounds of grass per day
- produce about 1-2 lbs of waste per day
- average about 5 goslings per year
- weigh 20 to 25 pounds
- mate for life and will stay together
throughout the year
- are federally protected by the
Migratory Bird Treaty Act
You can read more about Canada geese at National Geographic.
Pictures taken at the Voice of America Park in Butler County, Ohio.