It’s springtime and here comes motherhood on our pond.
Regular readers of my blog know that I’ve been practising the art of noticing as a means of stimulating curiosity and creativity. Paying attention to the music of nature such as mating birdsongs and wind in the trees calms my head that is often filled with useless information or worry about daily positive Covid test numbers.
Yesterday, while doing my usual route on the nature trail behind our house, I took a second look at a goose that had nested atop an abandonned muskrat hut on the pond in the conservation area behind our house. I had observed her during the past few days as she patiently sat on the nest regardless of weather including a snowstorm last week.
This mother-in-waiting chose a perfect spot — well hidden in the brush around the shallow pond near the river. What patience it must take to sit for days in all kinds of weather and wait for the miracle of life Bird mothers are true saints.
When I passed the nest today, I was surprised to see mother goose out of the nest. Her mate was beside her. Both were guarding the nest. Interesting, I thought.
I had never seen mother goose leave the nest as those eggs needed the constant warmth of her body.
I continued on my route around the pond and down to the river.
What a surprise I had when I returned to the pond on my way back home! Mother goose and her mate were guiding five goslings away from the nest and up to a marshy area. I was delighted to see this family — a gaggle of geese on our Riverbend pond!
All of this was happening steps away from the walking path. Along with several others, I stood transfixed and watched. We marvelled at nature unfolding in front of us.
At one point, other adult geese arrived. What a noise as the male gave chase with loud honking and wing flapping! None were allowed near to his new family. Mortality is high among baby birds of all species. Thank goodness both parents are there to protect the goslings.
Until today I had not seen the male within close range of the nest, but he was obviously watching over his mate as she waited for her eggs to hatch. No harm to our mother goose as long as he was around to guard her and the nest!
In the above photo, the mother goose is tempting the goslings with tidbits in the marshy grass while the male keeps watching. He’s a testament to fatherhood!
The babies need to learn how to forage in the marsh. As feathers develop, they will go back to the water and feed on insects for protein.
Finally — here’s a photo of the five goslings. It reminds me of every newborn baby as their eyes open and a new world emerges. The goslings look bewildered as they observe their new environment.
While the goslings are cute, I know they are vulnerable. Their colouring blends perfectly with the marsh grasses which is a protective factor. I’m happy that a mild evening temperature is predicted as the downy fluff covering their delicate bodies doesn’t need freezing temperatures.