Mike Digout has never been a fan of Canadian geese. However, after seeing a wonderful mother goose who was caring for a large family this spring, his attitude transformed.
Since starting to work from home, Digout has been taking walks along the Saskatchewan riverfront near his Saskatoon home, bringing his camera to capture the wildlife that lives there. It was there when he first saw the geese.
“Every night I went out hunting for beavers on the riverfront,” Digout told The Dodo, “and there was a lot of geese activity as they were coming from the south and looking for a location to nest.” “Watching the geese battle for nesting spots and defend their nests must be quite entertaining.”
In May, the first set of goslings hatched in Digout. “They’re like little tennis balls with legs when they’re little,” Digout continued. “I started photographing the goslings while waiting for the beavers to come.”
One night, Digout was sitting amid the reeds by the riverbank when he observed a mother geese with an unusually large number of goslings. One by one, the youngsters burrowed beneath her feathers to sleep for the night, until he counted 16 fluffy bodies crowded beneath their protective mother’s wings.
“I couldn’t believe this lady had 16 kids,” Digout added. “Every night, I returned in search of this mother and her goslings.” “Every day, it appeared as if she had a larger gang.”
He counted 25 goslings one day, 30 the next, until he discovered the mother geese and her husband with 47 offspring. Digout noticed that this beautiful mother was looking after goslings from other families. This is referred to as a gang brood, and it occurs frequently in areas with a large number of nests, such as cities and suburbs.
Gang broods form when very patient parents watch other geese’s kids, giving their pals a few nights off.
And Digout could see that this goose mother was up to the task: “It was amazing how calm she was with so many goslings about,” he said. “She looks to be a patient mother,” says the narrator.
The goslings are quickly growing up and no longer fit under their mother’s wing. She’s keeping an eye on them now that they’re all sleeping in one big pile.