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Goslings and a Chickadee

On April 30, as I ascended the boardwalk out of Explore the Wild, I noticed a pair of Canada geese swimming towards the back corner of the wetlands. In between them, in neat single file formation, were five very young and fuzzy goslings.

The geese were no more than a day old. Geese are precocial, when they hatch, they’re ready to go. Within the first day of life they’re out walking, swimming and grazing alongside their parents.

The next morning the goose family was seen at the Sailboat Pond in Catch the Wind, and have been every day since.

Five goslings guided by a parent on the first day.
A ball of down.

There are but four of the little waterfowl left. Keep an eye out for them. The parents lead them to all corners of the north side of the campus. Just a half hour after seeing them at the Sailboat Pond on the morning of the 5th, I saw them at the staff entrance to the black bear compound.

They’re regular visitors to the pond, so be aware.

Mornings at the Sailboat Pond (5/5).
This one goes after buttercup (5/8).
Its sibling prefers mulberry (5/8).

Chickadees are altricial. It may be a week-and-a-half to two weeks before they’re ready to leave of the nest.

One and a half week old fledgling Carolina chickadee. Not quite as capable as a day old goose.

The Carolina chickadee above fledged, perhaps, a day early. I placed it in a nearby shrub. It was in a high human traffic area and may have easily been stepped on. Don’t be afraid to relocate a bird you find on the ground. Your smell on the fledgling, or nestling, won’t alter the parent’s behavior towards the bird. Your scent is more likely to attract predators who, like raccoons, associate humans with food.

If you place a nestling back in the nest (if you can find the nest) the parent will continue to feed it. The parent will also be able to locate the fledgling in a bush or shrub, the fledgling will most likely be calling out constantly for food.

Enjoy the spring and all that comes with it!