Canada Goose Gosling, © Photo by Steve Kaye

Feathers Make the Goose

Feathers Make the Goose


Canada Goose Gosling, © Photo by Steve Kaye, in Feathers Make the Goose

Canada Goose Gosling


Everyone knows that feathers make the goose.

As a goose matures, it tries on different outfits (feathers, actually).

This begins with fluffy yellow down, as shown in the above photo.

But no goose wants to spend its life looking like a bathtub toy. So they change into something less vivid, as shown below.

Notice two changes: 1) The hint of black feathers on its face, and 2) The longer bill.


Canada Goose, Gosling, © Photo by Steve Kaye, in Feathers Make the Goose

Canada Goose, Gosling


Next the goose experiments with a “teenage” outfit.

Teenagers always look like they are between where they were and where they’re going.

Now adult feathers replace the downy plumage that covered the young gosling.

Right now, this bird’s appearance wouldn’t impress anyone except its parents, who are undoubtedly proud of its progress.


Canada Goose, Juvenile, © Photo by Steve Kaye, in Feathers Make the Goose

Canada Goose, Juvenile


Finally, we have the finished goose, ready to begin a productive career in a park or golf course.

If you know about an opening, please send a Honk (like a tweet, but more emphatic).

Canada Goose, © Photo by Steve Kaye, in Feathers Make the Goose

Canada Goose


About the Canada Goose

A female goose will lay an egg every day (or two) until she fills the nest (usually 4 to 7, sometimes 2 to 11). Then she sits on the eggs. This way all the eggs hatch at the same time.

The new ones are ready to walk, eat, and swim within hours after hatching. Then the adults lead them to find food. And thus begins another generation.


Canada Goose, Female and Goslings, (c) Photo by Steve Kaye, in Feathers Make the Goose

Canada Goose, Female and Goslings


Much success,

Steve Kaye

Help Birds Tip

1) Never give people food (such as bread, cookies, or crackers) to geese or ducks.

Why: People food lacks essential nutrients that these birds need. So they fill up on junk that interferes with eating food that nourishes them. In the worst cases they can suffer dietary deficiencies.

2) Avoid lawn chemicals

Why: Geese eat mainly plants, which includes grass, “weeds,” and such. When they eat plants treated with pesticides, they become sick.

Here’s an article that tells more about why these chemicals are also bad for people: See Pest Control Chemicals


Birding Resources

Julie Zickefoose’s newest book is a masterpiece of beautiful art and delightful storytelling. So I recommend: Baby Birds: An Artist Looks into the Nest


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7 Comments
  • Jo-ann Coller
    Posted at 11:03h, 17 June

    Interesting, love your blogs

  • Penny Schafer
    Posted at 11:41h, 17 June

    I know they have to grow up but I still love the babies best!

  • Rose Webster
    Posted at 13:48h, 17 June

    They grow incredibly fast and it’s amazing how bold (and kinda mean) the Canada goose can be – very unCanadian.

    So glad you pointed out that we really shouldn’t be feeding them “people” food (esp. white bread and fries),

    Other reasons bread is bad: in water, it encourages the growth of harmful levels of algae and bacteria and when it decomposes, it can attract disease-carrying rats (and rat urine transmits leptospirosis, also known as Weil’s disease – deadly for humans too). And sadly, rotting bread is a growth medium for the aspergillus mould which can kill ducks or geese.

    If people are going to feed ducks or geese, natural treats like oats, corn, or defrosted frozen peas would be the best choices.

  • Susie Vanderlip
    Posted at 20:56h, 17 June

    Lovely photos, Steve!

  • Susan Bulger
    Posted at 21:14h, 17 June

    As always you have combined beauty, wisdom and humor. There is nothing better.

  • Gail Pearce
    Posted at 21:33h, 17 June

    As always: delightful, informative , fun! TY G. Pearce

  • Bob Franz
    Posted at 08:08h, 18 June

    Your goose write-up is a quack-up. Bob

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