Family Visit

I didn’t see them arrive. Minutes earlier I had filmed a heron and some egrets in this area. Then my attention shifted further north. I glanced back, and there they were. I counted seven chicks and two adults. They must have flown in. Certainly the young ones were big enough to fly. Big enough, but not ready to fly off on their own. They made a tight family group, sometimes paddling single file, sometimes in a big group, sometimes in two clusters, each with a parent, nearby. They did a bit of paddling, a big of preening, a bit of poking around in the mud, and then they paddled eastward across the North Basin cove, and out of view.

These birds are familiar sights on the mudflats below the Strawberry Creek outfall just south of University Avenue, and around Lake Merritt in Oakland, among other places. This family likely did its breeding locally, but nest sites remain unreported. They nest on the ground in shallow holes with good visibility all around. Most geese breed around their fourth year and pair up for life, but may copulate with others. The female does all the nest building and incubating while the male defends the nest. The young may stay with the parents their entire first year.

More: Cornell Wikipedia Audubon Other sightings on this blog here.

Canada geese (Branta canadensis)
Update: They visited again on June 18. The chicks already look larger, harder to tell apart from the parents.

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