Mama Canada Goose Incubates Eggs – Then Disappears in the Middle of the Night

Mama goose hatches idea for new series chronicling life of geese parents on Sligo Creek. Photo by Wonok Kim

We stumbled across this mother Canada goose incubating her eggs on a recent walk by Sligo Creek. The next thing we knew, an hour had gone by — inspiring us to shoot a video that we’ve condensed into about four and a half minutes of cuteness for you to enjoy. It’s part of our new “Mama Goose Series” of videos, articles, photos and sound recordings.

We watched this Mama Goose add to her nest, add layers of warmth and protection as the sun started to go down, push the eggs around with her beak, and yank loose some ornery greenbrier shrub for her nest. Canada geese lay an average of 4 to 9 eggs per year. They also mate for life.

We were going to report the detail that mother geese don’t eat for the three or four weeks they lay on their clutch. We read that nugget in one of the many articles about Canada geese that we’ve perused. We can state that this is not categorically true: we have witnessed other mother Canada geese nesting on Sligo Creek step several feet away from their eggs to munch on some tall grass.

We returned the next morning to find the nest was empty. There was not even the slightest trace that anyone had called that nest home. We continue to visit the spot every day and still so no clues indicating what happened. The same is true for another nest that was about 20 feet away — full one day, empty the next.

The vacancy did give us a chance to marvel at the nest design. It measured approximately 23 inches in diameter, with the inner egg-holding basin measuring 10 inches. The nest stood about 3.5 inches tall. The structure was so tightly bound that you would think it was glued together instead of pressed into shape by a mother goose’s mouth and beak. I couldn’t make anything that skillfully with my hands, let alone my face.

Fortunately, a nest in the middle of the two abandoned sites is active. We’ve trained our attention on middle Mother Goose. Keep an eye on our site and social media for news and videos about her family — including dramatic scenes captured overnight by our wildlife camera.

Catch up on our Mama Goose series here. More on the way!

Clutch of eggs waiting to spring to life. Photo by Wonok Kim


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