Sunday, July 28, 2013

Gosling Growth

Gosling Growth 

One personal goal for this spring and summer is to observe and understand the general, nesting, and parenting behaviours of adult geese, and the growth and development of the goslings hatched in the region where I routinely hike. I kept notes of my observations.

In the 2.5 months from May 11 to July 23, I observed Canada Geese with goslings on 21 days. I saw a single family on nine days, two families on six days, and three families on six days. I was not always able to photograph the families. The distance or the lighting prevented photographs on most days. However, I was able to take photographs that show gosling growth and development on six days. The photographs below tell a story.

The photos are likely from six different families, but based on the location photographed and the number of goslings noted, the first and third photos might be the same family. Based on the dates and sizes, the goslings hatched at various times from late April to mid May.

Five to six eggs are usual, incubation is by the mother for 25 to 30 days, the goslings are swimming in the water and walking on land within a few days after birth, and they can fly by about 9 weeks. Both adults tend the goslings, which stay with the parents until the following spring.
 May 17 - Estimate only a week or so old.
May 30 - Estimate two or three weeks of age. 
June 4 - Estimate about a month of age. 
June 4 - Estimate 6 weeks of age. 
May 29 - Estimate 6 to 8 weeks of age. 
July 23 - Estimate 2.5 to 3 months of age.


The Atlas of Breeding Birds of Alberta. Federation of Alberta Naturalists. 2007.

Baicich PJ, Harrison CJO. Nests, Eggs, and Nestlings of North American Birds. Princeton UP. 2005.

Sibley David A. The Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior. Alfred A Knopf, Inc. New York. 2001.

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