Friday, March 5, 2010

Love Is In The Air!

Or it soon will be. There is a park in my city which is home to dozens of Canada geese.
I have been going over there to feed and observe them for several years.  My favorite time of the year, however, is when the goslings are out and about.  Here are some pictures from last spring, showing several 'families' of geese.

Geese mate for life, and usually use the same nest every year. They like to nest where there is a good view; the nests are usually on the ground near water, and can be found on small islands, river banks, and wet grassy areas.
The nests are built of grasses, twigs, bark, leaves, reeds and mosses; they are lined with down.  The male (gander) guards the nest, which usually contains from five to seven eggs.

The female leaves the nest only to eat and take short swims.  The eggs hatch in approximately 28 days.

The goslings are yellow-gray or yellow-brown with dark bills. Their feathers become gray in about one week.

The goslings can walk and swim as soon as they hatch. Not long after hatching, the family leaves the nest for the water, where it is safer.

The female leads, goslings next, and the gander brings up the rear.  About half of the goslings survive.

Yearlings leave their parents in the spring. When they are about three years old, the young geese find a mate and start nesting.

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