Nesting Goose

Every year, for the past several years, a pair of geese has had a nest on the small island in Crossroads Pond.  In my last post I noted that the geese were back and defending their island.  But I also noted that the water level in the pond had increased due to beaver activity and wondered if there was enough room for a nest.  I visited the pond on 3/25 and saw that they had built a nest and that the female had laid the first egg.


The typical Canada Goose nest is built in a depression in the ground lined with twigs, leaves, and moss.  Once an egg is laid, she adds down and feathers.  In the picture above, the single egg is present in the middle of the nest.  Bits of down surround the egg.  The nest, which is a loose pile of twigs, comes almost down to the water’s edge, but there is still enough room for the nest despite the much smaller area of the island compared to previous years.  Building on an island protects the nest from egg predators such as raccoons and foxes.

The female will typically lay one egg every 1-2 days, so more eggs are likely coming.  The typical clutch is 2-8 eggs.  The female does all the incubating and does not leave the nest until the goslings hatch.  Hatching occurs 24-28 days after laying.  When I took this picture, the female was only a short distance away, keeping an eye on some other geese, and soon returned to the nest.  The male was nearby, and was occupied with keeping the other geese away from the nest.  Both male and female behaved aggressively if other geese approached the nest.


In the picture above, the female is arranging the down around the egg.  She returned to incubating shortly thereafter.  So far, the geese and beavers are coexisting peacefully.

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