Mike Digout has never showed much interest in Canadian geese. But his opinion changed this spring after he came across a loving mother goose caring for an extended family. Since the pandemic started and working from home came into action, Mike has been going for walks along the riverbanks of Saskatchewan, situated near his home in Saskatoon. He even takes his camera along with hopes of capturing the wildlife living there.
This is when he spotted the geese. Every night he would walk on the riverbanks searching for beavers. There were a lot of geese given the fact that they were flying from the south looking for places to nest. Mike found it entertaining to observe the geese protecting their nests and fighting over which spots to place their nests. It was in May that he saw the first batch of hatched goslings. According to him, these adorable creatures looked like little tennis balls with legs.
This is when he began taking photographs of the goslings while waiting for the beavers to show up as well. One night when Mike was sitting by some reeds on the riverbank, he spotted a mother goose followed by a great number of goslings. 16 babies, one by one, crawled under their mother’s protective wings before going to sleep for the night. Mike was surprised to see this large group of goslings, so he went back every night to observe this big family.
Every day it seemed as if this group was getting bigger and bigger. One day it was 25 goslings and the next day it was 30. Finally, he saw the mother goose and her partner with 47 goslings. This is when Mike realized that this amazing mother was caring for goslings from other families as well. It is known as gang brood and can be seen in suburban and urban areas with many nests. Gang broods take place when patient geese parents take care of other geese’s babies, giving their friends some time off.
It was obvious that this mother goose was cut out for the job. She was very patient and calm even though she was surrounded by 47 goslings. With the babies growing up at an increasing pace, they now sleep together in one large pile while the mother goose keeps watching. The gang brood has since then separated into three large family units. But this amazing mother and her partner still care for 25 goslings and will continue to do so until they are to fly south again.