Wild

Mother goose looks after 47 babies and keeps every one of them safe

June 29th, 2020

Parenthood has been especially challenging during the coronavirus quarantine, but at least you can be thankful you don’t have 47 little ones to look after!

That’s the challenge one mother goose in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in Canada is facing this spring. And a local man, Mike Digout, has captured photos and video of her amazing feat.

Digout said he first noticed what was going on while he was walking along the riverbank, enjoying the wildlife. He’s always on the lookout for beavers – but the goslings were much more interesting this year.

“They’re so cute when they’re little — like little tennis balls with legs,” Digout told The Dodo. “So I started taking pictures of the goslings while I was waiting for the beavers to come around.”

Since geese tend to have under 10 goslings per season, the babies are not all hers.

In fact, both ducks and geese designate what’s called a “crèche” mother to tend to babies – it’s like daycare, for lack of a better comparison.

Digout has been making trips down to the South Saskatchewan River to see the growing brood, which appeared to have more goslings every day. On his first trip, he saw 16, but in a recent interview with the CBC, he said the number was up to 47.

“It was incredible how calm she was with so many goslings around,” Digout said. “She seems like such a patient mom.”

But what’s interesting about this gaggle is that the parents don’t always seem to return at night – so mama goose is on duty in the evenings as well.

“At night the mom still had 36 of them going to sleep underneath her,” he said. “It’s such a sight to see.”

It could be that some of the parents got into some trouble and won’t return. Luckily, geese are very welcoming creatures when it comes to babies.

According to the CBC, Jamie Harder, an interpreter for the Meewasin Valley Authority, said she has read about groups of nearly 100 goslings!

Digout’s group of goslings is now getting a bit too big to sleep under their adopted mom every night, so after a while, they began snuggling up in a pile while she kept watch over them.

And she’s not doing it entirely alone anymore – more recently, he’s seen other adult geese alongside her at times.

At first, she had just one partner, but it appears some of the parents have slowly returned. (We wonder how you thank a babysitter for weeks worth of work!)

Now, they’ve split into three separate units but still stay pretty close to one another, especially when they’re all out on the water.

“Look how much my little goslings have grown in 18 days (May 31 – June 18). I am so proud of them. There are now 6 to 8 adults supervising them during the day, so the original pair I followed has lots of help,” he said in a recent Facebook post.

It’s amazing what you can see if you get out in nature and keep your eyes peeled!

Digout has quite the collection of wildlife photos on his Facebook page. We should all be so lucky to live near the water!

Be sure to scroll down below to see some of the sweet video Digout captured on one of his many nature walks.

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

Source: The Dodo, Brent Cizek via YouTube, CBC News, Mike Digout via Facebook

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