One of nature’s most fascinating qualities is its constant ability to surprise us. Just when we thought we know everything there is to know, we learn that we’re wrong most of the time. And that experience is both humbling and eye-opening. We realize that we still have a lot to learn, and that’s okay. The world is so vast, and it’s up to us to discover how we can increase our knowledge of it every single day.
Mike Digout experienced something along the lines of that recently, while he was sitting near some reeds along the Saskatchewan riverbank. The man has never cared too much about Canadian geese, but that changed when he encountered a mother goose tending to a huge number of goslings.
Ever since the new normal of working from home started, the Saskatoon resident has been taking walks along the Saskatchewan riverbank. He brings his camera with him to capture the wildlife living there. That’s where he first saw the gaggle of geese.
“I was out every night walking on the riverbank looking for beavers and, of course, there was a lot of geese activity as they were coming from the south and looking for a place to nest,” Mike told The Dodo. “It got to be quite entertaining to watch the geese fighting over places to nest and protecting their nests.”
Last month, Mike noticed the first batch of goslings had hatched.
“They’re so cute when they’re little — like little tennis balls with legs,” he described them. “So I started taking pictures of the goslings while I was waiting for the beavers to come around.”
One night, Mike was sitting near some reeds along the riverbank when he spotted a mother goose accompanied by an unusually huge number of goslings. They were getting ready to settle for the night, and one by one, the babies started crawling under her feathers to sleep. He was counting as they hid under her protective wings, and he was shocked to find that there were 16 of them!
“I was stunned that this mom had 16 babies, so I started going back every night looking for this mom and her goslings,” Mike said. “And every day it seemed like she had a bigger group.”
When he came back another day, he counted 25 goslings, then 30 the next. When he found the amazing mother with her mate, they were looking after a total of 47 goslings. As it turns out, these babies came from many different families. This is known as gang brood and is a widespread phenomenon in urban and suburban areas with many nests. The other parent geese must feel so relieved to get a few nights off babysitting!
Since goslings are quite independent, they tend to wander around a lot and get mixed up with other groups. Usually, one or two geese are leading a group of them around.
From the looks of it, it seems like this mother goose was cut out for the job.
“It was incredible how calm she was with so many goslings around,” Mike said. “She seems like such a patient mom.”
The goslings are growing up quickly, and they could no longer fit under the mom’s wings. Now, they sleep in a big pile while the amazing mother goose watches over them.
The gang brood has since been divided into three large family units. But this supermom and her mate are still caring for 25 goslings, which is still a lot, but we’re confident that they can handle it!
What an adorable family! Share this story and make someone smile today.