By Bill Willis
If Canada geese successfully raise their goslings (available food, water, shelter), the pair will return to that same location the following year. Even the previous year’s goslings will join their parents for a couple of years and assist with caring for the new chicks.
On the NIEHS campus, the corner cafeteria patio planter has been a nesting location for many years. Some years produced goslings while other years were unsuccessful due to predation or abandonment of the eggs.
In 2017, another female claimed the location and constructed a nest of leaves and feathers. This was her resting place starting March 14, if you can call sitting on seven huge eggs restful. The male would fly in and out, but never stayed close to the nest. Incubation lasted until April 11 when the chicks began chirping from within the shells. The male quickly returned to the planter’s edge to fulfill his role of protector. By the next day, six of the seven eggs had hatched and goslings could be seen poking out from under their Mother.
Early the next morning the goslings were ready to explore, but first they had to get out of the planter. and either to the patio (3 foot drop) or down to the ground (16 foot drop). Thankfully, Mom and Dad hopped to the patio and the goslings easily jumped down when the parents honkered’em.
And now, for the rest of the story.