The role of a mother is vital in all animal species. Mothers ensure their babies are nourished, protected, and comforted, they teach them the needed survival skills and guide them as long as the newborns need it.
A mother is determined, patient, loving, and dedicated. One such mother was spotted in Canada!
Mike Digout was trying to fill his days during the lockdown, so he started walking on the Saskatchewan riverbank in Saskatoon, Canada, looking for beavers.
“Of course, there was a lot of geese activity as they were coming from the south and looking for a place to nest. It got to be quite entertaining to watch the geese fighting.”
However, as goslings started hatching in May, something more interesting caught his attention. He spotted a Canada goose with 16 babies one evening, which is much more than usual.
Surprised, he started returning every night, looking for the mother and the goslings. However, he got the impression that the group of goslings just got bigger!
And he was right!
He posted a photo on Facebook on May 26 and wrote:
“This momma was watching 26 goslings today in Saskatoon. Must be A Catholic goose.”
Later, the number of goslings rose to 47!
“Either it’s a gosling daycare while the other adults eat. Or she has adopted–or sometimes stolen–goslings from other families.”
However, this is not uncommon in geese. A Canada goose lays up to six eggs, but she joins with other parents, and they split their duties. This is called a “gang brood.”
Baby goslings are quite independent and like to wander around, so when they get lost, they just join the crowd they encounter.
Thirty-six goslings remained with the mother at night, sleeping underneath her. Digout commented that the mother goose looked perfectly calm and patient, with “ so many goslings around”.
Jamie Harder from the Saskatoon’s Meewasin Valley Authority, a “nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving the cultural and natural resources of the South Saskatchewan River Valley”, explains that these gang broods can sometimes consist of 100 geese.
She says they are “welcoming parents”, and they would “take in whatever goslings are around.” As soon as the goslings got older, and couldn’t fit under the wings of the mother, she let them sleep in a pile, and she kept watch.
During this period, Digout saw them in various situations, like going on a happy family walk, cuddling up together, and the mother teaching the goslings to dip their heads under the water without toppling over.
Since then, the gang brood has split into three family units, but this mother goose and her mate still take care of 25 babies, making sure they are safe until they are ready to fly south.