Who is Eating the Goslings?

The Question: We have a small pond (1 acre) with a small island in the middle. Every year we have a geese pair nest on it. The island is in the middle and about a 20 ft circumference. The pond is about 12 feet deep and stocked with bass, blue gill, and catfish. Muskrats live in the pond. The geese nest on the island. This year there were 8 hatchlings, 7 disappeared one day, the last one a few days later. No other predators I know of. An occasional fox passes through (rare), we occasionally see raccoons, and there are coyotes in the area. We have two large dogs who have the run of the place and this keeps down the fox/coyotes/raccoons, but they seem disinterested in the goslings. There are numerous red tail hawks in the area and vultures, as well as herons who like the pond. There are snakes in the area. We see them swimming in the pond occasionally and there are copperheads in the yard. The funny thing about this is that it seems to be a mass killing, which I think it must happen all at once. That would seem to rule out snakes. Seems funny for a hawk to get 7 in a day. I more imagined a raid on the nest, but on the island seems strange to me. Could the bass be getting the goslings?

Submitted by: John, Missouri, USA

The Short Answer: This is a murder mystery with a lot of suspects! Almost all of the creatures you mention are capable of taking goslings. Normally, an island would provide some protection from some of the more terrestrial predators, but this is a pretty small pond. I wouldn’t be surprised if a fox or a coyote would swim to the island if it knew there were a handful of gosling snacks waiting. Raccoons would also be high on the list of suspects, and Canada goose goslingthey certainly aren’t afraid of water. Hawks and even crows will take goslings from above, so the island is no protection from them. Neither would it be protection from a stalking heron. Snakes are also likely gosling predators, but as you say, they would be less likely to get a bunch of goslings in one day.

Of course, Canada goose parents will vigorously defend their goslings, so it would be difficult for any of these predators to get them all before the adults counterattacked or moved the goslings to safety.

One thing you didn’t mention is disease. Goslings are susceptible to disease, and that can often wipe out an entire clutch of goslings, in very little time. One deadly possibility is Leucocytozoon simondi, a protozoan blood parasite similar to malaria, which is carried by black flies. One documented outbreak of Leucocytozoonosis in Michigan killed 84% of goslings. That’s about the right level of mortality to match your 7 out of 8 missing goslings.

More information: I asked Tom Fondell, a Wildlife Biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey at the Alaska Science Center, for his opinion. Tom has done research on gosling mortality of the Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) at the Copper River Delta in Alaska. The list of predators there is different from that of central Missouri, but not as different as you might think. Here’s what Tom said:

“For most waterfowl the first few days are the most dangerous. In our study, on the Copper River Delta, the main predators of the goslings were mink Canada goose and goslingsand eagles.   Maybe mink could also be a problem in Missouri.  Muskrats would not be a problem.  Raccoons might take a gosling or two. But I would be surprised if the adults did not put up a defense against a small mammalian predator, and that the goslings would disappear all at once.

“In some ways predation by bass makes sense. The adults would not be able to defend against them, and might not even observe the predation event occur.  I worked on a canvasback project in Nevada (Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge) where the number one predator of ducks was suspected to be bass and these were just fish in the 1- 1.5 lb range.  (A study of bass there did find baby coots in the stomachs of a number of bass.)  If this guy has large bass (several lbs and larger) I do not see any reason they wouldn’t take goslings, especially during the first few days after hatch.  And if there are a number of bass in the pond I do not see why they wouldn’t take many goslings.”

Given Tom’s findings, mink strike me as a very good possibility. According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, mink are present throughout Missouri. But because they are small and mostly nocturnal, you might never see them. When I asked Tom about disease, he thought that was a possibility, but that you might have noticed sick goslings. I guess that depends on how closely you watch them. Tom’s suggestion is that you should make a gosling lure and see if you can get bass to strike at it. That might give you a clue as to whether bass are the culprits.

Another underwater suspect is snapping turtles, which will pluck baby waterfowl from underneath in shallow water. Unless there’s quite a few of them in the pond, it doesn’t seem likely they’d get them all so fast, however.

Of course, one simple explanation is “all of the above.” It’s possible that it isn’t really one predator taking seven goslings at one time, it just happened to seem that way. With so many dangers in such a concentrated area, it doesn’t seem out of the question to me that you could easily lose one gosling to seven different predators in a single day. Tom Fondell also pointed out that if there isn’t much forage for the goslings on the little island, the parents may be leading them far afield, exposing them to predation from everything from the bass to hawks.

One Suspect We Can Rule Out: Goose parents don’t seem to count that well … or maybe they do. On larger bodies of water, where there might be more than one pair of geese breeding, the goslings often get mixed, and the parents don’t always seem to sort them out. One day, you might have two pairs, each of which has five goslings (about the average). And then the next day, you see one pair has only one gosling. You might think they had a disaster, but then you realize the other pair all of a sudden has nine goslings. Is that because goose parents can’t count? Or maybe they’re perfectly happy to have someone else do the work of leading their goslings around.

In this case, however, with only one pair on this small pond, we can probably rule out gosling mix-ups.


Stolley, D.S., Bissonette, J.A., and Kadlec, J.A. (1999). Limitations on Canada goose production at Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuge. Great Basin Naturalist 59(3) (1999):245-252.

Herman, C.M., Barrow, J.H., Tarshis, I.B. (1975). Leucocytozoonosis in Canada geese at the Seney National Wildlife Refuge. Journal of Wildlife Diseases. 11 (1975):404-411.

Fondell, T, Grand, J, Miller, D, et al. (2008). Predators of dusky Canada goose goslings and the effect of transmitters on gosling survival. Journal of Field Ornithology, 79(4), 399-407.

46 thoughts on “Who is Eating the Goslings?”

  1. You’re welcome. Let me know if you see any mink. I’d try the “crepuscular” hours, the hour just before sunset and just after sunrise. That’s when you’re most likely to see a mink patrolling the pond shoreline, maybe.

    Also, Tom Fondell, the USGS biologist, is very curious to know the results if you ever try to make a gosling lure.

  2. Thanks very much – your discussion was very interesting and enlightening. Guess we’ll keep an eye out for mink.

    Thanks again.


  3. This is interesting. We have the exact same situation here on our pond in Colorado. Two nights ago we had six goslings and then the next morning there were none. We had observed them for about 10 days and they were doing fine — along with two other goose families of two and three goslings. We have fox, Herron, eagles, and mountain lions around here but it seems so odd that they all disappeared in one night. It seems like the parents are wandering around somewhat lost..

    I would really like to figure out the mystery..

  4. David from Colorado, you mention other pairs of geese. Have you counted the other goslings to confirm that yours haven’t just switched parents as they sometimes do?

  5. Wow. All these missing goslings! It’s hard to imagine, based on these reports, how it is that Canada goose populations are so high. I think it’s unlikely in each of these new cases that the goslings and parents were all predated in one night. I think it’s more likely that in each case, they moved off in search of greener pastures. However, I’ve sent off an email to our goose predation expert, Tom Fondell, to see what he thinks. Stay tuned.

  6. We have watched a pair of geese for 8 years trying to successfully raise a family. Most never lasted the day much less a week. Last year we had a temperature inversion in our 2 acre lake that killed all of the fish. This year the Geese had 8 goslings, the largest ever. So we suspect the fish were eating them as some of them were very large. They had their habits of where they went during the day. We had an area that we fed them cracked corn. Everything looked good on the morning of day 23, but that night they were gone. We have not seen them since, do you have any ideas? Our property is about 2 miles from the Illinois River and did not know if they would make the long trek to get to it.

  7. Yes. Absolutely no sign of any kind of fowl play. Just one morning they are here and that afternoon they are gone. I have about 8 acres with a 2 acre lake and a small pond. They had a routine of where they went and when so I knew where to find them at any time. Last year they had 3 surviving goslings after 2 weeks. A week later it was down to one and then they were gone. But the next year the same couple will be back. I knew it has been the same as they knew where I place the feed on the property. They go to that spot and will wait for me to come out and place it on the ground.

  8. I read your response to the person who inquired about their missing goslings every year. I am in Boston, and here, was watching some canadian geese raise 6 goslings for about 3-4 weeks. They were already quite large, and living in a small sanctuary surrounded by suburb and city development, so no snakes or foxes here.

    Every day people would go out to see the goslings, and they seemed quite safe with aggressive parents, and were fairly enclosed inside this mostly gated nature sanctuary. Recently, all of them disappeared, including the parents. One day, the family was there, the next, gone.
    Do you have any idea what could have happened? Could all of these birds, even with their large size at this point, have been predated all at once? I saw no evidence of feathers anywhere.

    The goslings did not yet have flight feathers, but were about 3-4 weeks old. I am going to check with the town to see if there was any human interference, but I doubt it, given that it’s a sanctuary and people have been watching them actively. What could have happened to them? Could they simply have walked away from the area? We are all very worried around here and feel quite protective of these geese.

    Thank you!

  9. It’s obviously impossible to know what happened in any of these cases, without on the scene evidence, but here are some things to think about:

    1. Goslings often get mixed up between adults. If you have several pairs all with goslings, check to see if the other pairs suddenly have more goslings.
    2. It would be a mistake to assume there aren’t predators, even in a gated sanctuary. Foxes and even coyotes have become quite habituated to people and are frequently found in city parks and backyards. And of course, the slithering and the aerial predators aren’t generally bothered by fences. However, it would be unusual for a whole clutch of goslings to disappear overnight as in all these cases.
    3. It seems to me that disease is the only cause of mortality likely to take a whole clutch at once. And disease can move fast. It’s not unusual for young birds to be fine one day and dead the next.
    4. Parents who have lost their entire clutch to predation or disease are likely to move on and try somewhere else — leaving the impression that the entire family was killed.

    With those other possibilities in mind, I think it’s most likely that in all three of these cases, in Boston, Colorado and Illinois, the parents and goslings decided the grass was literally greener somewhere else and moved out overnight (they eat grass, don’t forget). Tom Fondell, USGS wildlife biologist and expert on goose mortality says: “Much of the muscle mass in newly hatched goslings is in their legs, and once the down is dry the goslings are ready to move. Geese can move miles with their goslings, usually doing a little at a time (if going long distances it may take several weeks) and typically they are faithful to the same ‘brood rearing’ areas, and show they same movement pattern between years. But if disturbed they can move more quickly.” The parents may have decided that one place was good for a nest, and another place is best for raising the goslings to adulthood.

    So it seems most likely that your geese families have simply moved on. Wish them luck!

    One question for all three locations: was anything done to the grass near the water? Spraying, fertilizing, mowing, etc. that might have convinced the parents that it was no longer palatable or safe? That might have triggered the geese to move on.

  10. Thank you!
    I will check out what the town does there in terms of grass treatment. Hopefully nothing. 🙂 And I certainly hope they have moved to greener pastures! Did he say it was common, given the strong legs, for the whole family to do that mid-fledge?

  11. Thanks a great deal for your help Tom. Based on what I have read I will go with the story they simply moved on down to the river. Now I get to watch the deer and turkeys eat the corn that I used to leave out for the geese.
    Living in the country has it’s advantages and enjoying Mother Nature is one of them..

  12. Just FYI, I recently returned from our property in the U.P. of MI. We have several ponds with bank edges that are mowed at times. This Spring we had at least 6+ or so Canadian goose pairs nesting. In later spring they had the goslings in tow. Now there are about zero around. I only saw a few transient adult geese.

    I did see some older droppings and many locations on the dam/dike/bank with a pile of adult goose feathers. This would be where something ate an adult goose. The goslings were gone without evidence.

    The goose was killed or consumed on the top of the bank, not near the waters edge. Any leftovers may of been carried off. I know adult geese are very protective of their young & would stay around trying to protect them.

    There is about every predator present in MI on this remote U.P. location. It would be nice to have a successful nesting or 2 of the pairs that started out. Our main suspects for the babies and maybe adults are bald eagles,coyotes, and large hawks(red tail), though I wouldn’t rule out bobcats & even wolves trying a few. We have only seen the eagles and hawks present, & tracks of the rest. There are no fox around this location.

    A friend on mine did observe a coyote take several goslings in a group on his WI property.

    I did see a female wood duck with one baby left. I also saw a fawn leg with a scattering of wolf tracks around. I feel due to various reasons the system is tilted in favor of predators.

  13. This is fascinating…we have a spring fed bog just off our backyard, and the same geese pair have been nesting on it for two years, on top of muskrat huts.

    Both years she hatched 7 and 6 goslings, respectively, and the same thing happened to all of them on the 2nd or 3rd day after hatching: the pair left in the morning with all of them in tow and a few hours later, they returned with none. The adults cried and cried last year (it was quite horrid!), as they went back and forth to the nest and circled around the edges of the bog, looking for the goslings.

    I’ve been wondering what happened that would make all of them disappear at once. I’ve never heard a fight or anything from the adults, as they usually go to a pond that’s adjacent to the bog where they nest (so I’d hear them if there was a commotion). It’s like they think they’re returning with the goslings and suddenly have no idea where they are.

    I’ve heard a few people say there are bass in the adjacent pond, and now I think I’ve possibly solved the mystery…especially since you said that often the adults don’t even know they go missing. It’s a sad thought, but at least we know!

  14. Ww have a large pond here in Northern California and each year we get a few geese that land here and hatch goslings on the small island in the middle of the lake. They are fine for a week or so and then all the goslings disappear overnite. We suspected all kinds of different predators but now we have singled out our bullfrogs from the list of usual suspects. One of the older children who was swimming in the pond actually saw a bullfrog take down a gosling and was horrified by the sight. We feel like we have solved the mystery of the gosling serial killer. The only question is why they all disappear at once.

  15. We have the same problem every year. We live in the NYC suburbs, Northern Westchester. We have a 1.25 acre pond. Each year we have a set of geese that hatch goslings. We assume they are the same ones every year but it’s hard to tell. Sometime mid morning Between 8 AM – Noon we lost 3 of the 7 goslings. We do have large bass in our pond, also large snapping turtles and bull frogs. Red Tailed hawks, eagles and Blue Heron are in the area as well as fox and coyote. We have dogs so many of those predators are scarce on our property. I suspect the bass and the snapping turtles.

  16. For the last three years the wild Canada geese pair that returns to our 1-1.5 acre pond for nesting has lost all of their goslings within 1-5 days of birth, and each time they are all gone within 6-8 daylight hours. By that I mean they were present in the morning but all gone by 4pm. We live outside of savannah ga and have the usual aerial suspects but I have concluded after reading this site that it must be the fish. The nest is on a small island in the middle of the pond that just has scrub brush and trees on it so nothing for the babies to eat. So when they swim across to the area of our lawn they are “sitting ducks” for the fish in our pond. We do have turtles but I haven’t been able to identify any snapping turtles. Do other species of turtles eat goslings? How about other species of fish? What is a gosling lure and where do you get one? Do bass have any enemies that wouldn’t turn around and eat the goslings themselves, other than us? I’m tired of losing the goslings each year. Another reason I think it is the fish is that if it were one of the more usual and confrontational suspects the parents wouldn’t act as if they have no idea what happened to their babies. They would have tried to defend it and lost that fight, so they’d know where that baby had gone. But in our case every year for days and days the parents – and sometimes an aunt or uncle or two – comes to the pond about the same time of day and honks and honks while swimming around looking for their goslings. It is just heartrending. I would really like to do something to break this cycle. I’ve asked for help from friends to fish out all the bass, but is that the only answer? With stories like mine and the others above, I think it is a wonder any goslings make it to adulthood. I think somebody needs to revisit those mortality statistics I see published on various websites, and they need to add bass to the list of most likely predator suspects!
    Any help or suggestions for my feathered friends would be much appreciated. I would so like to see them successfully raise a family.
    Thank you.

  17. Same story here: we have a 2 acre pond surrounded by woods. For the last four years the same pair of geese have nested in the same spot, faithfully sat on the eggs for a month through cold weather, rain and storms. Within 2 days of hatching all of the goslings are gone. This just happened today with both geese honking for some time after the massacre. Last year I thought is was owls, but there have been several crows hanging around for a week or so – they are my best guess as the culprit. It is so hard to whiteness the same thing year after year. You would think that this pair would get the idea that it just won’t work out fir the best here!

  18. I am so glad we found this website because we watched out Mother and Father Geese tend to their eggs for the full incubation period. They were on an little island in the middle of our pond and we were so excited when the 6 goslings were up having breakfast with mom and dad on Wednesday morning. Thursday we didn’t see them and yesterday Mom and Dad were back, honking, without any children. Today they are wondering around the nest as if they are looking for the goslings. My heart is absolutely broken for them . . . I know we have fox and raccoons and bullfrogs and muskrats but I just can’t get my brain around the fact these parents can’t protect any of their babies?? This is just terrible and I am so sad. I really, really hope they walked them to another area but the way they are acting, I feel sure that isn’t the case. Wishing I could have protected them.

  19. I hope this doesn’t come across as heartless, but to put a naturalist’s spin on this, a typical female goose might live 15 years. If she has 5 goslings a year, that’s 75 goslings in her lifetime. Remember that for a population to remain stable, she only has to have two survive to adulthood to replace her and her mate. That means that 73 out of 75 goslings would die in one way or another! If even five out of 75 survive, that would create a population explosion. As it is, Canada goose populations have reached the problem stage in many places. If all these goslings were surviving, I might be getting lots of questions about “How can I get rid of the Canada geese?”

    It’s always heartbreaking to see, however, and we all hope OUR baby geese survive.

  20. I am so sad, this is the third year we have lost all the babies and I do not understand it. Really, the only explanation to me is that the parents did it…why? maybe because they knew that the place was probably not the best to raise the kids because we have people that walk around and use the pond in the summer, I don’t know, but I am so sad. This years we lost six, I have a little video of them on my Facebook page Armando Villa Uribe. So sad, they were so beautiful!

  21. In case any new searches finds this thread I’d like to wrap it up; everything and anything eats goslings.
    All those geese you see are a major food source for every carnivore. I estimate that 9 out of 10 goslings never get to fly.

    Fox will take all the goslings in an hour. I had a fox steal 16 turkeys poults and 9 full grown chickens in 2 hours, stashing many of them still alive in his cache. Raccoons are ravenous and will kill them all , eat what they can, and leave a mess. Turtles pluck them away, crows carry them away, goslings feed even snakes.

  22. I’ve read all of these stories, and they more or less match my own: every year a pair hatches a clutch and every year the goslings are suddenly gone within a week of hatching. They disappear in the course of a single day it seems, and what’s more, there is no sign of struggle or even feathers and I can’t imagine terrestrial predators eating them all at once and leaving no feathers over and over, year after year. And I can’t imagine that aerial predators could grab them all so quickly with such powerful parents defending them. This pond has a dozen or so large koi. They have always been my #1 suspects and these anecdotes above have only confirmed my suspicions. Because this pond is in the mountains of NC, it is unlikely that the geese walked off as there is no place to walk to. This year, I’m going to take action. If I could, I’d eliminate the koi, but I can’t. I’ve been pondering a plan for two years now. I am going to buy a 12×72 foot baseball batting-cage net made of polyethelene and endeavor to create an anti-fish net using floats, polypro rope (that floats) and cinder blocks as anchors. I know the parents walk around and lead the goslings to a smaller nearby pond and back, so, I am unsure how to best employ my net to try to work with the birds’ instincts to forage. I could try to cage them around their nesting island in the larger pond, and keep the fish out of that cage by forming a cup below the water and leaving a small fence above. I think this will be too elaborate and will not succeed. My best idea is to just create as much of a safe zone as I can around the island, by covering all the deep water with an underwater net-barrier stretching from the island over the deep water toward the shallows near the edge of the pond so that when they are swimming, the koi have a greatly reduced area of attack. I am open to any ideas. This may very well be an exercise in futility, but I must give it a go. I’ll let you all know how it goes.

  23. Addendum to above: Since this net will be adjustable, I may try to fence-in the island in order to prevent any terrestrial predation. If the geese defeat that barrier, then I can then stretch the net protect against the koi. I see this as buying time for the goslings. The older they get, the harder they will be to capture by any predator. For me, this is as much a learning experience as anything else. I am trying to answer a riddle — and see if I can adjust the situation to alter the outcome.

  24. William, I approved your posts as you can see, but when the system tries to send you a confirmation, it’s bouncing back. Could you email me directly at tom@askanaturalist.com? I want to try and figure out why this is not working. Thank you.

  25. Please send us some stories of goslings successfully raised to adulthood! Maybe we will learn something. All these sad stories seem to say it is impossible!

  26. Hi Donna/Val, I appreciate the sentiment. This time of year, I get dozens of heartbreaking emails about disappearing goslings and ducklings. I don’t know that there is any easy way to protect them other than rounding them up and caging them. And that doesn’t seem like a good idea. And probably isn’t legal. On the other hand, every adult goose you see is a success story. So the geese must be doing something right.

    I think the reason I get so many emails about missing goslings and ducklings is because they are among the few animals whose offspring we regularly see and can count. If we saw all the babies of mice, squirrels, turtles, raccoons, robins, etc., we’d realize they almost all die, too. For a population to remain stable, on average, only two offspring of each mating pair survive over the course of the pair’s entire lifetime. All the rest die. But, as I said, the fact that we have very healthy — some would say overly healthy — populations of Canada geese and mallards suggest that more than enough are surviving the gosling and duckling stage. It’s far from hopeless.

  27. I don’t specifically know of them doing that, but they will eat almost anything, so if they came upon unattended goslings, I’m sure they would eat them. I also suspect that an adult goose could deter an opossum, so it’s probably not very likely to eat goslings that are with their parents.

  28. we introduced some geese to our lake about 4 years ago this last three years when the goslings arrive usually 7 or 8 they survive for a maybe a week then every day there is one less till all gone 3rd year this has happened its either mink or swans have set mink traps without success

  29. My husband saw a large canadian goose thrashing in a pond. It appeared that he was caught on something. So my husband got in the water attempting to release the goose. He was shocked to see that a large snapping turtle had a hold on his neck and had killed the goose. Our attempts at releasing the goose from the jaws of The snapping turtle failed as he then swam to deeper water with the goose. This was near Charlotte, NC.

  30. We have this happening every year; we back on to a fishing lake with a Resident swan pair and a pair of geese that come every April. Every year the male swan drowns all of the baby geese, it’s horrendous. The swan is so aggressive, he attacks bait boats, chases the adult geese literally from dawn to dusk and will spend hours pecking at the glass fence ( we think he is attacking his reflection), never known a swan like him. The fishermen call him Arnie! Is this normal swan behaviour? And is there anything we can do to give the goslings a head start? One year he killed two broods and all of his own babies (5 cygnets)!

  31. I work in front of a pretty big creek near Pittsburgh, PA & we have a couple of Canadian geese here that just had a clutch of 9 goslings this past Easter weekend while we were all away. Our driver stopped off & on over the weekend & even sent is a couple pictures of the couple with their 9 goslings. He said they were so cute running around by the nest with the parents in tow. When Mama Goose was sitting on the eggs, Mr Goose watched her viligently & we watched him chase a big blue heron away when he got too close one time. I was looking forward to seeing them upon my return (along with everyone else here), but on Monday there was no family at all. It is Wednesday & the parents have returned to their old spot with no goslings. They are swimming near their old nest (which is now flattened) there was an egg that didn’t hatch that is now gone too. I was hoping maybe it was a different set of parents possibly looking to re-use the other couple’s old nest, but I think that it’s them & their goslings are gone. I hope I am wrong, but after reading this, I’m not so sure. I know nobody here at work would’ve hirt them- we all loved them. So sad 🙁

  32. Ah.. so glad I found this resource. I won’t give the same details here that have been repeated over and over.. It’s the same for me.. Pond, Island, same pair every year, gone in a day..
    This year the six eggs never hatched.. Not typical of this pair.
    I pulled them away after 55 days. No way they would still be good after that long.. Then I checked. Yep, all rancid.

    My contribution here is that I have witnessed the goslings get pulled under in the pond several times. They are swimming in a line behind the parent and suddenly, one goes down. On rare occasions it pops back up again – many yards away from where it went down. And it usually paddles frantically when it pops up. Over the course of a day, they have all succumbed that way
    I’ve been on a mission to find a way to reduce the snapping turtle population. But after reading this site, I’m pretty sure it’s a lost hope. .. Our pond is teaming with large bass. I didn’t know that bass would take a gosling.
    I’ve just now come around to Tom’s way of thinking… Just let them go and hope two survive over the parent’s lifetime.
    Well, hopefully I’ll see mom and dad try again next spring..

  33. Hi Lance, thank you for your observations. Interesting that none of the eggs hatched. I wonder if one member of the pair has become infertile. As for the goslings, bass, and turtles, I think we all like the diversity of nature, and without predators we’d be overrun with herbivores like geese and our planet would not be green for long. If we want predators, we’ve got to accept some tragedy. Also, I like snapping turtles. 🙂

  34. Same story, but with about a dozen nesting pairs every year (some 20 years now), resulting in many goslings hatching over a month or two period.
    The past 2 years, all have been taken/ lost within days of hatching.
    All EXCEPT 2 goslings raised by the pair who nest inside the horses’ run-in shelter last year.
    This led to our theory that a newer great horned owl we’ve seen, along with plenty of red tails are our predators.
    Our pond is in perfect view of the livingroom so we are subjected to witnessing this mass goslingacide each spring now.
    If it is an air assault, in an attempt to help a few, what do you think of placing some doghouses about the pond area? Obviously this could backfire if it is ground predators. And of course, if they’ve even use them.
    It helps reading others’ experiences.
    Thank you, V

  35. Hi V, as a naturalist, I want to say, “Just don’t worry about it. That’s the way nature works. Goodness knows Canada goose populations are in no danger.” But I know that’s a hard prescription when it’s right in front of you. I’ve certainly tried to save my share of wild animals when I know I shouldn’t interfere. So to your question … you might be right that a dog house could just as well be a trap as a refuge. What about something that is just a roof with no sides? Of course, if the geese don’t think it’s safe, there’s no way you can make them use it. But that might give protection from above, without becoming a trap for terrestrial predators. Let me know if you try it. Tom

  36. OH so sad, This morning between 0630-1000 all 5 of my Canada geese goshlins are gone. Parents very upset. Oklahoma here and we have all the usual predators. Ive had various fowl never lost all at once. Even have pond with an island. Goshlings a week old. I am at a lost to explain as no evidence.

  37. I have a one day old Gossling whose parents already split with their 3 other babies. This one hatched a day later and there was no sign of his parents. i tried to introduce it to a family with 5 baby geese that look at least a week older than this one and all they did was attempt to bite his head/neck area… even the adult where i stepped in and chased them off. I will turn in the baby into SPCA in VA BEACH unless anyone has a better idea.

  38. Hi Chad, giving it to a wildlife rehabilitator is probably your best bet. If the SPCA in your area doesn’t do that, they should be able to help you find someone. Tom

  39. @William Barber – Really dude? Of course the goslings will disappear without any trace of feathers, they are covered in goose down. They don’t grow feathers until they are four to six weeks old.
    Most predators will eat them whole, same as baby ducks. Animals don’t take time to skin them, so evidence is going to be non existent. I watched a video where one of the bald eagles brought a live gosling to the nest, then disemenanted it alive to feed its hatchlings. It didn’t skin it, just tore in with its beak and ripped flesh from the living body.

    Goose down buddy, not feathers.

  40. So sad, I do not know what are the goslings all I know is this was the 3rd year and female finally hatched all but one she would have had seven and 2 days later they are all gone! First the the male came back and was honking profusely, then a couple of days the, both came back and everyday are here and go to the nest! I live in Medina Ohio and have a half acre pond so between muskrats to herons to hawks to king fishers we have them all! I feel so bad for the geese.

  41. That’s so sad. Mine are on their 5th year failure every year. I haven’t seen the male in a couple of days. They were due this wknd to hatch! I just returned from paddling a little boat to the ponds island shes been devoured beside nest and all the eggs sucked out dry. Im not sure what could have done that , but a coyote would be my main suspect.

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