A photographer was wandering the banks of the Saskatchewan River in Saskatoon, Canada when he came across quite an unusual sight. The man had been in search of beavers to photograph, but what he found instead was a mother goose, her partner, and their brood of goslings. But rather than a usual brood of 5 or so goslings, this family had 47 goslings in tow!
Mike Digout spotted the family of geese and initially saw 16 tiny goslings, which he was quite impressed with. 16 is already a large number of babies to care for!
After spotting such a large family of geese, Mike decided to return to that same spot along the riverbank and search for the geese to photograph. As he continued to watch them, he noticed that his initial calculations were a bit off. Instead of 16 goslings, he counted 26!
“By the time this Momma had 25 goslings under her she was almost six inches off the ground,” he shared. The last little gosling wasn’t interested in such a crowd and went off with “Dad” instead.
He kept watching them, and they only continued to grow – both in size and number. By the time he had a more accurate count, he was up to 47 goslings!
He shared on Facebook that the line of goslings “keeps going; and going; and going …”
Despite what it might look like, the mother watching over all of the goslings isn’t actually their mother – she’s just a babysitter. Some of the goslings are probably hers, but the rest are from other parents. According to BioOne Complete, some Canadian Geese raise their broods alone (in two-parent families), while others raise them in gang broods, which is two or more broods parented by four+ adults.
Basically, the geese practice communal parenting or babysitter sharing. They definitely seem to understand that it takes a village sometimes!
Mike seemed to enjoy documenting the life of the goslings and their caretakers. He watched them go for family walks, learn how to swim and dunk around in the water, and have big family snuggles at the end of the day.
As he observed them and photographed them, he got to witness how quickly they were growing! And he was more than happy to share that with his Facebook followers as well. He wrote, “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.”
Thankfully, the original mother has plenty of help now. But that mama definitely deserves some recognition for all of her hard work! Can you imagine caring for 47 babies?
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