Moulting Season Begins

As June came into July, a few things began to happen that I look forward to every year. First and foremost, the Goslings began to take on their adult colours in earnest.

They are still clearly juvenile, with down feathers poking through, but they are clearly babies no longer.

They began to resemble adults in miniature.

The Goslings weren’t the only ones feeding on the lawn. Some babies take a while longer to feed themselves. Ravens for instance. They will be fed until they are about 60 days old, and some have trouble giving that up.

One day toward the end of June, I realised that three visitors had arrived. I assumed that, as had happened before, they would disappear after a day or two, content that the family was doing well. However, these visitors never left. We were into moulting season, when all adult geese are grounded, so they were here for the duration. This usually ends just as the Goslings are ready for their first flight.

The positions and attitudes of the geese as they go through this very necessary stage are quite enoyable to watch. There’s always one that I call Baryshnigoose, but  he hadn’t made himself known yet. They had only just begun.

The beginning of July came and the family began to cross the lane to feed under my window. I love this time of year. But with the added three, they truly were a flock! It became difficult to differentiate between the adults, and the Goslings were becoming just as difficult to keep separated in my mind. Luckily, they still had the down sticking out of their beautiful black head feathers, so I was able to tell who was juvenile and who was adult.

Also, quite frequently, the three visitors remained separate from the family, keeping their distance. I honestly wondered how Ralph kept his temper a few times. Usually, the two closest to the Goslings were Ralph and Alice, with Trixie and Norton not far away, then the Visitors.

July 5th dawned and the family had a bit of time, just the eight of them.

On the 6th of July, the visitors hung out with the family again.

Also on July 6th, I saw this little guy. I love the Wagtails, but the Grey Wagtails move too quickly to allow for a good photo op. This little Pied Wagtail seemed game, however!

And on the 6th, grooming/moulting began in earnest. Generally, if the goose isn’t grooming, it’s probably a Gosling. Not always, however. Sometimes, all a goose wants is food.

Sometimes, food is all that’s required.

I love this shot of the Geminis and Shy One (in the back).

Always, mixed in with moulting and grooming and eating, there is wing training to be done. The Goslings need to get their leg and wing muscles strong enough to defy gravity and lift them off the earth. These last photos and the one directly above are all from July 7.

They all head for the water.

I was due to fly back to Canada on July 10 for a visit with my family, which meant I would be missing two weeks of the Goslings’ development. That just killed me. They might have flown off before my return on July 24!!! But, my own family ties mean more to me, so that meant I had two more full days of shots to mingle in with packing!

It’s rare to have so many of the geese and Goslings with heads off the ground!

So, we’re coming into the last few posts about this year’s Canada Goose family. It’s taken a while to get here this year, but I, for one, am grateful. It’s dismally dark and mizzly here, it being November. Creating these posts takes me back to sunnier days. I look forward to sharing the rest of their story with you.

One thought on “Moulting Season Begins

  1. Hi Kathy: Glad you decided to come to TO this year. I wasn’t able to see all of the shots; maybe too many for my system. Keep saying I have to get a new one. I’m forwarding to June & Alayne. They’ll be delighted to see the story continue. Love you. Mom >

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