A Canadian man named Mike Digout accidentally discovered a caring mother goose who appears to be looking after 47 goslings. Presumably, they’re not all her own babies.
Since he began working from home due to the coronavirus pandemic, Mike’s been taking walks along the Saskatchewan riverbank near where he lives in Saskatoon.
Though he’s not particularly a fan of Canadian geese, Digout was intrigued by their activity, noticing that they were looking for places to nest.
It was in May that Digout, who is an avid nature photographer, noticed the first batch of goslings had hatched and started paying more attention to them.
“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.”
It was then that he noticed one goose in particular seemed to have more than her fair – or natural – share of babies. In fact, the first time he saw her, there were 16 goslings trailing her.
Digout said: “I was stunned that this mom had 16 babies, so I started going back every night looking for this mom and her goslings. And every day it seemed like she had a bigger group.”
Indeed, that initial group of 16 first jumped to 25, and then 30, before Digout spotted the mother goose and her mate with almost triple that number – 47 goslings.
That’s when he realised she was caring for the goslings of different goose families – something known as a gang brood and which is common in urban and suburban areas that have a lot of nests.
What this essentially equates to is babysitting – as with human parents, it gives the parents of the goslings a much-needed break. And according to Digout, this particular goose was the perfect babysitter.
He said: “It was incredible how calm she was with so many goslings around. She seems like such a patient mom.”
Now, it seems that the gang brood has apparently split into three large family units, but that this attentive mother and her mate are still caring for about 25 babies. How adorable is that?