Mission: To promote the appreciation of wildlife and increase harmony between humanity and nature.

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Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Mother's Love - Goslings +

A Mother's Love is unconditional... 
...no matter which direction the children wander...

...to the left ...

...or to the right.

On the land..

...or on the "sea"...

...or in the air.
O.K. so maybe the last photo is a bit of a reach for those "winglets", but you have to give the Gosling an "A" for effort.

The best guess on the age of these goslings is about one week. Two weeks ago a Canada Goose was photographed nesting on the 520 bridge structure immediately north of the Arboretum where these birds are consistently seen.

On Friday the nest was empty except for some feathers. While these gosling may not be from that particular nest, given their size, the timing seems likely.

In formation...

...or taking a little rest...

...and relaxation the mothering instinct is so strong they are never alone.

Someone mentioned, shouldn't there be a second parent watching out for the goslings. If you take a look at the fourth photo from the post one year ago ( Click here to see ) both parents are clearly in attendance.

It would be interesting to know which is the usual situation, one parent or two. Cornell gives more information, like  the parents can have a wingspan of over 5 feet and weight can be nearly 20 lbs, but it does not address the issue of how long the male bird hangs around. If anyone visiting the Arboretum sees the second parent feel free to leave a comment below.

One thing seems certain there is no question about the Mother's love and devotion.

Happy Mother's Day to one and all...and in particular to my own mother and to the mother of my children! Thank you, both!!


Some parting shots:

A gosling through the leaves.

With this mallard family, also seen this week in the Arboretum, there is no question about whether both parents are involved. Did you see the ducklings on shore?

A short time later they trailed just a bit behind the parents.


  1. Keep in mind, however, that Canada geese have been essentially an invasive species which is a pest and has no predators. The ducks are somehow in balance on the lake. Canada geese should be a migratory species, but they've found year-round food and shelter here without predators and have now multiplied to become a pest invasive species.

    1. The "invasive" species with no predators, who has had the greatest impact on Union Bay, is us. It is encouraging that in spite of all our development, over 150 bird species were seen on Union Bay last year, there are seven beaver lodges and hundreds if not thousands of migratory birds stop in Union Bay each year. Still there are many opportunities for us to be kinder to nature and ultimately kinder to our children.

    2. Larry, thank you for pointing that out. Other species so often get scapegoated for our sins, as it were. We raze habitat, over-develop, poison, pollute and essentially leave wild animals with swatches of viable habitat in which to survive. Then we complain when they "invade" "our" spaces. There is clearly an imbalance in many ecosystems, as Anonymous suggests, but almost without exception, we are the source of the problem.

    3. My hope is that we can continue to reduce our impacts on Union Bay and build a better world for our children. If you have not read my Feb. 11th post on the State of Union Bay you might find it interesting.

  2. What a beautiful photo-essay, Larry! I so much agree with your response above: lovingkindness and appreciation for beauty is always appropriate for all species.

    1. Thank you. I appreciate the reinforcement! There ought to be a thought in there about Mother's Day and Mother Earth, but I haven't quite found it yet.

  3. Larry, on the goose pair question ... Canada Geese are, indeed, very family oriented and the norm is for both of the pair to raise the young. In my experience that is what I see unless harm has come to one of the pair. And both are great, protective parents. The young stay with their family for a long period, a year or more I believe.

    With Mallards, on the other hand, I'd always read that males leave the females during incubation, to raise the young on their own. But I've seen Mallard pairs with ducklings, as you document here. Perhaps someone more educated on this facet can clear that up for me.

  4. Whenever I have seen Canada Goose families, both parents have been present. My opinion is that they are much better at watching out for the babies than Mallards, as there is a parent in front of and one behind the flock almost at all times. Mallard ducklings seem to just wander off...At a pond near where I live, there are both species, with the geese having few or no lost young and the mallards losing one after the other till none are left. Bald eagles are usually the culprit.

    1. You and Ingrid both agree with what I thought I remembered about Canada Geese, e.g two parents in attendance. This leads to the conclusion that some thing must have happened to one of the parents, since I have consistently seen only one. Kind of like with my eyes and ears redundancy is a good thing. It improves the odds of having at least one that works well. I realize a second parent really isn't 100% redundant, but hopefully one parent will be enough for the goslings.