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ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

Why would 3 large Canada Goose babies suddenly not be around? (1 Viewer)

sebbo1

Member
Hi all,

Since lockdown began last March, I have found a wonderful new hobby in going to a few local watering holes and feeding the ducks and geese.

On one of the local pools there have been for a while a group of 27 geese, including a pair with 5 babies, a pair with 2, and another pair with 3.

A week or so ago, all of the non parents flew off, then a few days ago the families with 5 and 2 babies also left, leaving just the family with the 3 babies who are now pretty big and I thought should soon be ready to fly off. However, today I went to visit my remaining five feathery friends and could only see the parents, and this is the first time I have ever not seen them all together. I've been going to say hello and feeding them since they were fluffy little yellow things and I have grown very fond of them.

So my question is, why would 3 very big Canada goose babies suddenly not be around? I would be very surprised if they have all got to such an age only to all die in the space of 3 days since I last saw them.

I would imagine if a wildlife place had taken them to check for some reason that they would have taken the parents at the same time so as not to break them up.

The babies wouldn't have gone on a short solo flight or anything would they? I'm no expert but a quick google search doesn't bring up anything to suggest that this is something that would take place.

Also, if humans had been and done something to the babies (which I'd like to think is very unlikely but sadly I know still possible) then I doubt the parents would have come up to me this morning like they usually do to say hello and eat from my hand. I know it is definitely the parents because the daddy goose has a ridge almost like a scar down his front.

I just wondered why the babies would suddenly not be there. The only other thing I can think of is that the babies are very almost ready to fly and are on the bank amongst the trees resting but again I don't know if having a period of rest to conserve strength before their first flight is a thing!

Thanks in advance for any suggestions! Hopefully I will go again in a couple of days and see them all back together.
 

PYRTLE

Old Berkshire Boy
Predated I would suggest; mink , otter, adult swan or even a large pike. Or as you said, resting somewhere out of sight but that is unlikely as the parents would be nearby.
 

sebbo1

Member
Hi,

As I say, the parents are about and it is only a small pool.

I am very doubtful it is predators as the babies are now pretty much full size, so it is very unlikely they have lived on the pool for 7-8 weeks only to then all be killed in the space of 3 days when they are almost at their biggest. There are no mink or otters in the area. There are a pair of swans, but again they have lived in harmony with the geese all throughout this time and they are far too big to have been eaten by a fish.

There is a heron that sometimes appears, but once again the goslings are far too big now for him to have eaten them.

To me the most sensible answer is that they are just resting on the bank, but I've never seen them not all together, so would only expect that to be the case if that is something that geese do just before they make their first big flight.
 

PYRTLE

Old Berkshire Boy
Geese and swans tend to stay in family groups till the youngsters mature to adults, particularly those that migrate to warmer climes.
 

jcnguyen09

Well-known member
In a middle of one hard winter, on the pond in the back of where I resided, there appeared a lone male duck, he had been all by himself for several weeks. Suddenly he disappeared! I thought he couldn't stand the hardness of the winter with the snow covered almost the whole surface of the pond or became the food for predators...then several days later, he appeared again and this time with two female ducks....
I doubt that all three big goose can become the victims of the predator at the same time provided the pond is in the urban area. It could be that the tree young goose could follow another family or group with others to fly off and there are some reasons for the parents to stay: e.g. old ages, one is unable to fly, etc....I frequently hike around a pond near my place. it is crowned with all kind of waterfowls in the summers. Most fly off in the winters but not all, always there were some staying back due to certain reasons, even there were some young, strong ones staying during the winters. Kind of mysteries that probably only understand by the biologist or specialist on the behaviors of migration birds/waterfowls.
 

sebbo1

Member
Hi all,

Thanks for the replies.

I have been back today and the parents are not there today either. So, in my mind the most likely explanation is the kids were saving energy for their first big flight and that is why I couldn't see them, and the family left later on during the day.

I aslo went to a different pool where I fed 28 geese 4/5 days ago, and there were only 6 there today; one pair, and then a pair that have two small goslings and thus could not have joined the rest of the group. One of the babies comes immediately to me and eats from my hand, and he does it ever so gently, to the point you pretty much can't feel him eating from your hand. He is so adorable!

There is also another pool where I had a group of 15 geese, where 12 left leaving 3, the next time there were 2, then yesterday only one. No doubt he will have left to join the others by the next time I go, too.
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia

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