Goslings galore!

If one were to Google the word “gosling” they would discover a slew of images and the correct pronunciation and origin of that word – wow, a whopping 43,600,000 results in 0.47 seconds, plus Canadian actor Ryan Gosling’s smiling face!

I’ll save you the trouble of those few mouse clicks, or typing the word “gosling” into a search engine, as this writer will define a gosling as “a puff of feathered sweetness that takes away the harshness of today’s world.”

The backstory ….

It was Mother’s Day weekend, on Saturday, May 7th to be exact, when I rounded the bend near the twisted tree at Council Point Park and came upon three families of geese. The parents were parading their offspring as they made their official Park debut. I was happy to see them, but wondered “where had they been hiding since they hatched?” The goslings gobbled up lush grass in their tiny beaks and paid no attention to me, but the parents’ radar sure went up.

After oohing and aahing a little, I quickly hooked my goodie bag in the crook of my elbow; I couldn’t get the camera out of its pouch quickly enough to capture these cutie pies for you to similarly delight in.

Canada Geese goslings typically hatch in early May in all our local parks. Elizabeth Park has hundreds of Canada Geese, so it’s a sure bet you can find some if you’re in need of a gosling fix.

Here at Council Point Park, where I’ve been walking since 2013, despite climate change rearing its ugly head and slamming our formerly four seasons into unrecognizable categories, some of Mother Nature’s happenings remain status quo, just as I’ve witnessed each year this past decade. It is more than just the budding trees, or the eventual foliage hues come Fall. There is the return of the Red-winged Blackbird in March, the awakening of turtles from deep slumber beneath the Creek bed, the arrival of goslings in early May and the departure of all the geese and their offspring in late June. The latter event happens once the adult geese lose their flight feathers and cannot evade ground predators, so it is necessary for each goose to take to the water and shelter in groups until their new flight feathers return. I’ve already seen large feathers along the path. After the geese depart, there will be clean and poop-less paths and no wing-flapping and hissing histrionics – I’ll still miss them.

I’ve never seen a goose nest at this venue, though I scour the shorelines each Spring looking for them. They must be well hidden because one day the other walkers and I show up to see fuzzy, lemon-yellow darlings scurrying around. We walkers are like the paparazzi when the goslings arrive.

Week #1 – The nursery set.

These glimpses of goslings on Mother’s Day weekend were the sweetest of all the photos taken of them this past month. It was difficult to winnow down those shots. At first I just thought I’d just sprinkle a few gosling photos in my “Spring Vibes at Council Point Park” post, but, when I was without a car, then severe weather forced me to stick close to home, I was able to document the goslings’ growth on a regular basis over a month’s time. Although this is a small park, I don’t see the families every day and sometimes bad weather cancels out my morning walk.

It was early morning, with no other walkers around and the goslings were emitting tiny tweets and peeps between mouthfuls of grass – it was the epitome of a peaceful morning for me.

Here are some shots – can you tell the different ages, likely only a few days apart? I’ll identify them for you.

Family #1
Family #2
Family #3
Mom looms large as she watches her babies.
It’s off for a swim (they didn’t wait an hour after eating though).
Dad brings up the rear so no one strays from the queue.
One gosling has special privileges as the others lag behind.

Week #2 – Kindergarteners.

Though I often saw the geese families on weekdays, I waited one entire week later to document the goslings’ growth. On Saturday, May 14th, it was a day at the beach for the families. In comparing offspring between the three families, I could tell how much those youngsters had grown. Their downy yellow plumage was sleeker and tinged with gray blotches. They were not toddling after their parents, as much, plus strutting around seeking the lushest grass and picking out some of the plentiful dandelions to dine on. I’m glad I arrived early that morning because just as I left the trail, the crew of grass cutters were starting up their mowers. The next day the grass was short, dandelions sheared from the landscape and the three families were nowhere to be found.

It’s an easy life – eat, swim, sleep and follow Mom and Dad around.
One family returns from the Creek …
… time for a snack, then a nap.
More than one family at the ol’ swimming hole.
One gosling is attentive to Mom; the others are checking me out.
“That camera lady is still here. Let’s stick out our tongues at her!”
These are older goslings – can you tell?

Week #3 – Pre-teens.

By Week #3, this time on a Sunday, a mere eight days later, I captured images of gray-colored goslings, with canoe-shaped bodies, stubby wings, massive feet and a whole lotta hissing coming from those black beaks. Although they still clustered with their parents and siblings, occasionally a brave soul would sprint from the others to snag a wildflower, or for a drink of water at the Creek’s edge, independent of the crowd.

Dad was fiercely guarding his goslings. I was hissed at, but I WAS social distancing.
“Listen up everyone – here’s how we’re gonna bust outta here!”

Week #4 – Teenagers.

With the impending Memorial Day holiday (and finally able to schedule some bigger parks in my weekend agenda), I set out mid-week to document the goslings. They grew so much these past few weeks, from yellow fuzzballs to gray, almost-prehistoric looking birds with massive feet. They are eating and pooping machines. Unbelievably, adult geese eat up to four pounds (almost two kilograms) of grass a day – the goslings do their fair share of eating as well.

My favorite photo from this day were these goslings hissing. I don’t think their anger was directed at me, as I stood a respectable distance away. What a couple of rebels!

“Do you dare tread down OUR path lady?”
Just in case you wonder what “goose stepping” is.
Wingin’ it. Nope, no flying for you yet little one.
Standing to eat is just so yesterday!
Pouting? Sulking? Check out the big feet!

Week #5 – Looking like grown-ups!

I capped off the goslings’ growth chart around Week #5 when they became all gray and a little blah looking. Their markings grow more defined daily, with darker beaks, whiter cheeks and the tail feathers are now resembling their final plumage.

At about 4 1/2 weeks, tail feathers are lookin’ good!

A few factoids about our feathered friends. The growth of these goslings is pretty amazing. They are incubated by Mom for about 30 days. They hatch and are immediately able to find their own food source and take to the water, where they will form a neat queue behind either of their parents. In four weeks, the goslings will have grown to one-third of their full size and at eight weeks, their plumage is indistinguishable to that of their parents, becoming “mini-me” versions. At a glance you cannot tell them apart. Then the best part: after just ten weeks from a cute fluffball, they will take flight as a full-grown Canada goose. Upon fledging, their new moniker becomes “young goose” as they leave those gosling days behind them, however, they don’t reach full maturity for another two years.

Thanks for hanging in here through the chatter and all the photos, (some, which I’m sure look alike to everyone but me). Your reward is this lovely quote:

“Our task must be to free ourselves … by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty.” – Albert Einstein

About Linda Schaub

This is my first blog and I enjoy writing each and every post immensely. I started a walking regimen in 2011 and decided to create a blog as a means of memorializing the people, places and things I see on my daily walks. I have always enjoyed people watching, and so my blog is peppered with folks I meet, or reflections of characters I have known through the years. Often something piques my interest, or evokes a pleasant memory from my memory bank, so this becomes a “slice o’ life” blog post that day. I respect and appreciate nature and my interaction with Mother Nature’s gifts is also a common theme. Sometimes the most-ordinary items become fodder for points to ponder over and touch upon. My career has been in the legal field and I have been a legal secretary for four decades, primarily working in downtown Detroit, and now working from my home. I graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in print journalism in 1978, though I’ve never worked in that field. I like to think this blog is the writer in me finally emerging!! Walking and writing have met and shaken hands and the creative juices are flowing once again in Walkin’, Writin’, Wit & Whimsy – hope you think so too. - Linda Schaub
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69 Responses to Goslings galore!

  1. peggy says:

    What a wonderful post. I like these birds, but as they grow they certainly get ackward looking in their juvenilr stage. Your pictures are stunning.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Zazzy says:

    How wonderful to be able to watch these little families! Can you imagine if human babies matured so quickly? Foraging in the fridge within hours of their birth and at 10 weeks, they’re off to University. Thanks for the cuteness this morning.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Ha ha – yes, it would be pretty scary Zazzy! It amazes me every year how quickly they grow up and this year documenting their growth was fun. I never know how many days old they are when they first debut, nor where they’ve been hidden. I think they’re gone until later this Summer now as I’ve not seen a single goose since last Wednesday.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Priti says:

    Beautiful goose family ! Great shot thanks for sharing 😊👍

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Love that picture of the teenagers hissing, getting in some practice for their life skills. 🙂 It was so interesting seeing how fast they grow, how much they change in just a couple of weeks. The first picture of the gosling sitting in the grass is beautiful, definitely a ‘puff of feathered sweetness.’ Thank you for sharing these and for all the interesting gosling and goose facts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Those teenagers really made me laugh Barbara. They were all puffed up with importance and really I wasn’t that close to them, so hissing just for the sake of hissing. 🙂 It is amazing how fast they grow when you compare photos week to week. That sweet gosling in the top picture was eating dandelions and just plopped down by itself, like it was worn out from eating. So I lucked out there. Glad you liked the facts about them – I found them interesting too.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Anne says:

    This is very interesting and is beautifully illustrated.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Lovely pictures. I love baby critters!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. great pictures and documenting of these Geese Linda! They must be getting used to you hanging around.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ari says:

    oooh so adorable!! I’ve never seen goslings in the wild, only on pictures. And sadly, due to the family visit my partner and I missed visiting out local walking spot and missed the birth of the cygnets to a nesting pair of swans.

    What a lovely treat that must have been for you seeing these pretty geese. I had to laugh at the Teenager photos, they look so cute and silly. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      They go so quickly from fluffballs to prehistoric-looking adults Ari and it is just amazing to me each year to watch the transformation. This year I thought I’d document it. That pair of rebels hissing at me made my day. I have been trying to get photos of swans with their cygnets for years. I finally saw some this year, though it was across the marsh. They sure were cute!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Pam Lazos says:

    So cute!! Here sometimes they cross the street with their parents and traffic stops in both directions!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. trumstravels says:

    haha Goose stepping indeed! Good one Linda! I love the goslings, I know Canada Geese get a bad rap but I do like watching the goslings grow up and they do it so fast!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      I laughed when I saw that goose walking like that Susan. Between that and the goslings hissing when they saw me, they provide lots of antics to laugh at. I always marveled how quickly the goslings grow up, but comparing photos week-to-week, you can really see it. I’ve not seen them since last Wednesday so I think they have gone to the River to await their new feathers.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Laurie says:

    Your documentation of the goslings growing up (so fast!!!) is awesome, Linda. Those teenage goslings hissing is the photo I love!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      It was fun documenting them Laurie. Through the years, I’ve seen them over the course of a month, but never took photos on a regular basis to show their growth. I felt like I needed a yardstick to measure how tall they grew! Those teenage goslings made me smile too – so ferocious!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Joni says:

    Wow, they really grow quickly. I like your definition…..and your favorite hissing photo. I will never think of Ryan Gosling again without thinking of goslings!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thank you Joni – I think my definition suits that cutie pie up top to a T. That was one of the youngest ones on Mother’s Day weekend. Those goslings are funny when they mimic what their parents do – right down to the wing flapping, though there were no wings to flip yet. I have never seen Ryan Gosling in a movie, but I’ve heard his name. I did not know his name was spelled that way and would have assumed it would be spelled with two “s” letters. So that surprised me!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. TD says:

    Love this post all in one. The collection and description of ages is so much fun to learn. It proves your due diligence in story telling, Linda! Wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thank you for saying that TD! Watching them, then photographing them while on my walk was a great pastime for the month of May and I was sorry to see them grow up so quickly! Now they have left the Park and gone to the Detroit River with their parents and when they return in a few months, I’ll not be able to distinguish the young geese from their parents.

      Like

  14. Aside from “hissing histrionics” and “gosling goodness” it is amazing to see how quickly they grow into adults. How fun for you to see all this play out! High hopes for them on their subsequent journeys when it’s time to leave! Fun post, Linda, lots of smiles 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Glad you liked this post Terri. It was fun watching them grow up before my very eyes, especially when they mimic their parents with the hissing and wing flapping if someone dares to not detour around them on the walking path. 🙂 They’ve got spunk, those young critters!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Ally Bean says:

    Hissed at by teenage goslings! You live a tough life. I like your post and how you’ve shown the progression from gosling to goose. Well done

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Yes, I felt like I had to defend myself along the path with those rebel hissers! I’m thankful I am a tough Michigander. 🙂 Glad you liked the post Ally. It was fun documenting their growth with my camera to give everyone a smile.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. ruthsoaper says:

    Great photos Linda! I love how you did weekly photo shoots so we could watch them grow. Chickens go through that gangly stage between being a cute fluff ball and a beautiful adult as well.
    P.S. I know you are behind in reader. If you haven’t heard from Anne this week you should go over and read her post from today.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Thank you Ruth! I had fun watching them grow and documenting it with pictures. What happened to those fluff ball? I never thought about the chicks to chickens … yes, they would have that awkward and gangly stage as well.
      (Thanks for the head’s up Ruth. I was behind in Reader and went over to catch up on a few days over at Reader before I came over here – my next post was Anne’s and I just read it after you sent me this message. How terrible – such a loving couple and 58 years of marriage. Family members must be devastated. Thank you again Ruth.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Prior... says:

    The “no flying for you yet” photo is a heart tug! Oh my goodness
    And these goslings and this post is teeming with life and amazing energy
    Really beautiful post Linda

    Liked by 2 people

  18. YAY – I’m so happy to see you were able to capture all their stages! This is such a fun post. The teenager stage is so awkward. I love how you caught them with a look of defiance and talking back. It’s good to stay away from them, the parents can be nasty when they feel threatened. I bet it was fun for you to go through the photos to pick what to share!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Glad you liked this post Shelley – they were fun to watch growing up, very quickly. The teenager geese really had quite an attitude … they must study their parents to get those moves just right! I had a few more photos but thought there were likely too many to begin with, so unfortunately had to weed them out.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Nancy Ruegg says:

    Thank you, Linda, for documenting the growth of gosling-to-goose. Fun to see! We have a gaggle that hang out some of the time at a pond down the street. I heart them announcing their arrivals and departures when I sit on the deck and always look up to watch them pass. Such big and heavy-looking birds to get airborne!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Glad you liked this post Nancy – it was fun to compile week by week. They have been gone about 10 days now, so I finished up just on time! The parents paddle down to the Detroit River (about a mile away from Council Point Park) and they stay there until they get their feathers back. By then the goslings will be flying as well. I was at Elizabeth Park today and saw a group of them by the canal – had to be 30-40 geese congregating at the canal’s edge. They can make a quick entry into the water if a land predator is around and feathers all over that park. They do make a noise don’t they and when they are ready to descend, the noise is like they are trying to decide exactly where to land!

      Liked by 1 person

  20. J P says:

    Well, this was something fun to take a gander at. 🙂 seriously, the life cycle of goslings is cool.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Schaub says:

      Why didn’t I think of that clever phrase JP? It is fun to watch them growing up like that, amazingly within the space of four weeks’ time. They paddled down to the Detroit River with their parents two weeks ago. Friday morning I was at the Riverfront and there was a group of geese sleeping in the middle of the River – there had to be 100 of them. They are safe there until their flight feathers grow back.

      Like

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