The more you investigate, the more examples you find of how prevalent adoption is in the natural world. This time it’s a mother goose who babysits 47 goslings and cares for each and every one of them as her own.
Like many others, Mike Digout had some time to reflect on his life recently and started doing the things he truly loves. The man started taking evening walks along the Saskatchewan River near his home in Saskatoon, Canada. Digout brought his camera with him, in hopes of snapping a few shots of beavers, but all he could find were a few Canadian Geese. The geese were making their way north in search of nesting spots along the river. Digout who never liked geese enjoyed watching them fiercely fighting over nests and nesting spots. Little did the man know, that his feelings towards the geese were soon to change.
When the first batch of goslings hatched, the man immediately fell in love with the “little tennis balls with legs”. One evening, Digout spotted a mother goose with an unusually large brood. He followed her around when he noticed that the babies started to crawl under her wings. As the babies were finding their spot for the night, Digout managed to count 16 of them. Fascinated by the geese’s maternal skills, the man returned every night looking for her.
The brood kept growing mysteriously every night. The next day the geese had 25 goslings, the day after, 30, and the one after that, she already had a staggering 47 babies following her. The man realized that there’s no way that all those goslings were hers. It turns out he was right. The phenomenon is called a gang brood, and it mostly happens in urban and suburban areas, where the nests are closer to one another. Gang brood means that one goose takes care of another one’s babies, giving her a few nights off for herself.
Growing fast has its downsides. The babies grew fast, and can no longer fit under their mother’s wings. They now sleep in a pile while she watches over them. After the gang brood broke up into three families, the mother goose and her partner still care for as many as 25 babies! Way to go!
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