|New Goslings at the Sanctuary!|
|Written by Catherine Lorenz|
|Friday, 22 June 2012 18:56|
On Friday, June 15 we were pleasantly surprised to find brand new baby goslings in the lagoon. We believe they hatched in the early morning, since we found them in the nest around 10 am. The nest looks like a pile of dirt, mulch, and downy feathers with a crater shape in the middle where the mother sat on the eggs. You can still see the remains of the nest behind the fence around the lagoon, next to the bridge.
Now that they’ve hatched, the goslings will stay with their parents for a whole year before becoming independent. Most Canada Geese don’t begin breeding until they are four years old. Once they do, they will form a breeding pair and will usually remain with the same partner for life. Both male and female geese tend to choose mates that are similar in size to themselves, a process known as “assortative mating”. The female will choose a nest site in the spring and lay her eggs while the male guards her and the nest from predators or other birds.
Believe it or not, these familiar birds were once so scarce in number there were no breeding pairs in Michigan. In the 1920’s George Corsan, the game breeder and manager at the sanctuary, purchased a flock of Canada Geese to keep permanently on Wintergreen Lake. He hoped the flock would encourage wild Canada Geese to breed at the sanctuary, and it worked. They are now listed as a species of least concern, with over 5 million individuals in North America. The southern half of Michigan’s lower peninsula is now an area where the breeding and wintering grounds overlap, hence their year-round presence. For more information about Canada Geese, follow this link: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Canada_Goose/id.
The goslings are now out and about, so stop by the lagoon soon to say hello!