Gosling and His Family

June 02, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

Canada_goose_gosling_EP_2019_1Canada_goose_gosling_EP_2019_1A famly of Canada goose goslings (Branta canadensis) relax in the grass and dandelions in Estes Park, Colorado. Canada geese give birth in the towns along Colorado's Front Range the last week of April and first week of May. But here in Estes Park, these little yellow fluff balls are born about a month later. 

I went looking for the first ones of the season on May 31, 2019, at my favorite gosling spot in town — the Lake Estes 9-Hole Golf Course. Late in the day the golfers are wrapping up their games so it is safer to walk the course and the light gets really nice before setting behind the mountains. The geese love the course with its fresh green grass and the river running through it so they have a place to escape danger.  Canada_goose_gosling_EP_2019_3Canada_goose_gosling_EP_2019_3A famly of Canada geese (Branta canadensis) swim in the Big Thompson River in Estes Park, Colorado.

The geese had a bumper crop of goslings this year. About two dozen were running around the course and most appeared to be only a few days old. 

I selected a family of six — two adults and four goslings — that seemed comfortable with my presence. 

Canada_goose_gosling_EP_2019_2Canada_goose_gosling_EP_2019_2A Canada goose gosling (Branta Canadensis) takes a drink while swimming in the Big Thompson River in Estes Park, Colorado. It was fun photographing them for about 30 minutes before the entire family decided to drop into the Big Thompson River to get a drink of water. I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to photograph the goslings coming back up into the grass so I quietly laid down in the nearby with my camera ready. Canada_goose_gosling_EP_2019_4Canada_goose_gosling_EP_2019_4Two Canada goose goslings (Branta canadensis) walk up the river bank through the grasses in Estes Park, Colorado.

Up came the parents. And then up came one - two - three goslings. One more to photograph. I waited for several minutes and didn't see the fourth gosling. The rest of the family had wandered back onto the course to graze some more. I waited for several minutes but no gosling.

Canada_goose_gosling_EP_2019_5Canada_goose_gosling_EP_2019_5A Canada goose gosling (Branta Canadensis) runs along the bank of the Big Thompson River crying out for his family in Estes Park, Colorado.
And then I heard the stressed chirps of the little guy. He was stuck below the bank and struggling to figure out how to climb up the mud and grass. I peeked over the edge so as not to stress him any further and noticed several other adult geese encouraging him to climb up the bank. It was interesting to see the interaction because the only thing I have seen adult geese do for goslings that are not their offspring was shoo them away. 

I continued to keep an eye on the location of the gosling's family so I could reunite them if need be. But then I turned to see the little guy coming over the bank. His little wings were spread so wide and he was calling his family as loud as he could.  Canada_goose_gosling_EP_2019_6Canada_goose_gosling_EP_2019_6A lost Canada goose gosling (Branta canadensis) runs to meet up with his family in Estes Park, Colorado.

His mom heard him and immediately ran back over to him, with her brood following close behind. 

The gosling was reunited with his family. Mom seemed relieved; his siblings seemed to give him an earful. 

Glad there was a happy ending. Canada_goose_gosling_EP_2019_7Canada_goose_gosling_EP_2019_7A lost Canada goose gosling (Branta canadensis) runs to meet up with his family in Estes Park, Colorado.


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