Awkward teen years

I went over to the neighborhood pond earlier today, just to see what was happening, aiming for before it got too hot; I missed. I’d seen a couple of broods of Canada geese (Branta canadensis) over there, this years goslings (three of which you’ve already seen as last week’s Profiles of Nature entry,) but this morning made it clear how many there were, and I had to call The Girlfriend over.

three broods of Canada geese Branta canadensis approaching author
Moreover, they noticed me and approached purposefully, announcing by their behavior that they’ve been getting hand-fed and are far from overprotective of their young. I was able to do a few closeups as they cruised past, capturing their interim coloration between the dirty yellow of the younger goslings and the distinctive pattern of the adults. I have too many Canada goose photos, but none of this stage, until now.

pair of Canada goslings Branta canadensis transitioning towards adult coloration
Not the most prepossessing of birds at this age, are they? I should probably use this for another Profiles entry – it can’t be worse than tomorrow’s.

By the time The Girlfriend made it over there, I was standing within a few meters of two broods, with two others close, all having come ashore nearby. They quickly came right up to us, not outright begging, but making it clear that we were not upholding out duties, even though we have never been the ones feeding them (The Girlfriend was so delighted at their approach that this is likely to change very soon.) We had nothing to give them, and eventually they wandered slowly off, not going too far in case we wised up and changed our minds about the food offerings. One gosling, however, chose a handy patch of shade to plop down and take a short rest in the growing heat of the day.

older Canada gosling Branta canadensis settled in handy shade of author
It really couldn’t stay there long, both because the parents and siblings had decided to move on, and because the shade itself couldn’t remain there either; I’m never sure how obvious these things are, but that’s my own shadow that it settled down within, wide-brimmed hat and all.

None of these geese are domesticated, by the way; it’s just that Canadas don’t fear a lot and have become acclimated to humans anyway, and will quickly abandon any remaining misgivings if food is involved. In other areas, they can be aggressively protective of nests and young, but we’ve never gotten anything more than warning hisses from them.

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