Facebook | Mike Digout

Guy Documents Goose Supermom He Saw Caring For 47 Goslings

Amy Pilkington 20 Jun 2020

I am very familiar with the Canada goose. Basically, they are evil incarnate and woe be the person who accidentally walks down a sidewalk in the middle of downtown too close to where a goose has decided to nest.

Most birds find out-of-the-way places to build their nests and raise babies in safety. Canada geese are like, "I see this busy plaza has a small patch of garden in the middle. I will nest here and attack anything that comes within honking distance."

So color me surprised when I saw these viral photos by Mike Digout, in which he got within throwing distance of goslings without losing an eye.

Facebook | Mike Digout

I'm exaggerating (a bit) for emphasis, but seriously, look at how close this adorable baby goose got to his camera, and the adult geese are completely okay with it.

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Mike lives in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, where he's had some extra time on his hands thanks to working from home.

Facebook | Mike Digout

So he decided to spend that time hanging out near the local river, hoping to take some good photos of beavers doing their cute beaver things.

Since it was spring, the geese were back from their winter migration and nesting in the same area. He mostly kept his distance and just enjoyed watching them argue over nesting territory.

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When the first goslings began to hatch in May, Mike snapped some pics of them while waiting for the beavers.

Facebook | Mike Digout

That's how one particular mama goose first caught his eye. She had an unusually large crowd of goslings and he counted 16 the first time. Each day, he'd keep his eyes peeled and see her with even more babies, until he finally counted a total of 47.

"This is a long line of goslings. It keeps going; and going; and going ..." he posted on May 26.

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That's when he realized that those weren't all her babies. She and her mate were actually caring for the broods of multiple couples.

Facebook | Mike Digout

Basically, she was in charge of Gosling Daycare. Which is adorable whether or not you're a fan of Canada geese.

This behavior is called a "gang brood" and can include as many as 100 goslings being cared for by only a couple of adults. It allows the other adults to go about their time foraging for food and is common in areas with densely packed nests.

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Every day, Mike watched the goslings grow, all under the watchful eye of their goose supermom.

Facebook | Mike Digout

She and her mate did have some help from the other adults and eventually the brood split up again among different pairs, but about 25 of the original crowd stayed with her.

In fewer than 20 days, they have lost almost all of their yellow baby fluff and are looking more like their future selves every day.

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And Mike did get plenty of great photos and videos of the beavers he originally set out to document.

Facebook | Mike Digout

Like this father and sun giving each other a relaxing groom.

Hopefully, Mike will be able to keep watching the goslings grow until they head south again in the coming fall.

h/t: The Dodo

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