VIDEO: Goslings hatch and leave nest at Whitby town hall


Published May 7, 2024 at 10:28 am


The Whitby town hall geese are on the move again after their goslings hatched yesterday.

The town announced a mama goose they named Whitley chose the town hall rooftop as her nesting site on April 17. Similar to the Peregrine Falcons at Lakeridge Health Oshawa, Whitby has set up a “goose cam” with a live feed to YouTube where viewers can get a look at Whitley and her goslings.

While the live stream has ended, viewers can still look back on Whitley and her goslings‘ time on the roof. Whitley was on the roof for a few weeks to incubate her eggs. Five goslings hatched around 6 a.m. on May 5.

The town also held a contest to see who could guess the closest to the goslings hatch date. More than 200 people participated in the contest, though the town did not publically identify the winner.

Canada Geese mate for life, usually 10 to 25 years. However, when one partner dies the other will find a new mate. The female lays between two to nine eggs each mating season, averaging around five. She’ll then incubate the eggs for 24 to 32 days. In the meantime, the male spends most of his time away from the nest though he remains nearby on guard.

Once the eggs hatch, the goslings are immediately able to get around and swim. However, they won’t be able to fly for some time. This period often overlaps with the parent’s summer molting season leaving the family earthbound for a few weeks. As such young goose families are often seen walking in a line with the parents at either end.

The gosling will grow their flight feathers (or begin fledging) between six and nine weeks old. Though they can fly after that they will stay with their parents for about a year until they return to Canada after the winter migration.

Canada geese are fiercely protective of their young and will chase off anyone or anything who gets close to the nest, eggs or goslings. They’ll first hiss at the intruder before launching a vicious assault of bites and wing slaps. Goose attacks have resulted in broken bones and head injuries, per Geese Relief.

For the safety of both residents and the geese, the town advises visitors to give the nest a family a wide berth.

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