When Baby Geese Are Orphaned, This Wildlife Center Finds Them New Feathered Families

· May 14, 2018, 10:00 am
Photo: Cute Goslings 2Mike Lamp/CPR News
Abandoned goslings can be "adopted" by other geese families with the help of wildlife rehabilitators. After the adoption, the stray baby goose may even snuggle up with their new siblings, as seen here.

The bad news: Sometimes those little bundles of feathered fury get separated from their families.

That's where the Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center wants Boulder residents to come in.

The rescue center hopes bird-eyed do-gooders will log the location of any Canada geese families they see around town and share the details on this Facebook post. Greenwood can then reference that list of eligible geese when an abandoned gosling lands in their hands.

When Greenwood wildlife rehabilitators track down a recently logged goose family, they'll slowly approach with the gosling in a box, chirping away. 

"As soon as those parents hear those babies making that noise, they get very defensive. They come over with their wings out, they start hissing and honking at us. They want those babies to be with them, they know they’re not supposed to be with humans," Greenwood staff member Amanda Manoa said.Photo: Cute Goslings 1Mike Lamp/CPR News

Geese's well-known parental instincts can apply to all goslings, even if those babies aren't biologically their own. Canada geese, like humans, are monogamous, and couples often stay paired up for life — making an ideal home environment for orphaned goslings. Flocks will foster abandoned goslings without a peep.

"The babies run to the other little babies, they get into their little spot, and we can’t even tell who’s who," Manoa said.

Greenwood prefers to match a baby goose with a new family the same day they pick up the lost gosling, barring any injuries or illnesses. When Boulder residents pitch in to the collective community goose brain trust, the aerial adoption process accelerates.

If someone finds a baby goose, Manoa advises to first wait and see if the parents return to the stray gosling. If not, then they can bring the little one to Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.

And don't keep a gosling as a pet. For one, it’s against state law. But also, the longer a baby goose is away from its own kind, the slimmer the chance it can ever be returned to the wild.

Watch Greenwood Center staff facilitate a gosling adoption:

CPR News host Mike Lamp contributed to this story.

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