Tag Archives: waterfowl

Canada Goose Goslings © Matt Filosa

Take 5: Goslings on the Go

It’s springtime, which means the parade of cute, fluffy baby animals is about to really take off! This week, we’ve got five adorable photos of Canada Goose babies, or goslings as they’re properly called.

The Canada Goose (not Canadian Goose!) is the only species of goose that breeds in Massachusetts, although a few others may be spotted passing through outside the breeding season. They don’t typically migrate, either, instead moving to areas where the water isn’t frozen as the temperatures drop in winter.

The female Canada Goose selects the nest site, usually a slightly elevated spot near the water. The nest is a shallow depression made with plant material and lined with down. She lays a total of 4–7 eggs—only one per day—and does not begin to incubate full-time until the clutch is complete. 

The male stands guard and may show aggression if the nest is threatened, so be sure to maintain a respectful distance. The goslings hatch after 25–28 days and are born precocial, meaning that they are able to walk, swim, and feed themselves almost immediately after hatching. The young stay with their parents through the first year of life.

Enjoy these five photos of fuzzy little yellow goslings from our annual Picture This: Your Great Outdoors photo contest and remember: geese are perfectly adapted to winters in New England on their own, so please don’t feed the geese!

Let us know in the comments if you’ve spotted any goslings in your neighborhood this spring!

Canada Goose Gosling © Kathy Diamontopoulos
Canada Goose Gosling © Kathy Diamontopoulos
Canada Goose Goslings © Matt Filosa
Canada Goose Goslings © Matt Filosa
Canada Goose Goslings © Riju Kumar
Canada Goose Goslings © Riju Kumar
Canada Goose Goslings © Kathy Hale
Canada Goose Goslings © Kathy Hale
Canada Goose Gosling © Ben Murphy
Canada Goose Gosling © Ben Murphy
Hooded Mergansers (male) © Nathan Goshgarian

Take 5: Hooded Mergansers

Thinking about taking a radical step with your next hairstyle? You could take a cue from the Hooded Merganser, a common but striking duck with an over-the-top (pun intended), fan-shaped, collapsible crest atop their heads. Adult males have bold black-and-white crests while females sport a cinnamon-colored version of the ‘do. Either coloring would certainly set you apart in a crowd!

Awkward on land but graceful in the water, Hooded Mergansers are diving ducks, preferring small ponds, rivers, and wetlands where they can dive for fish, amphibians, mollusks, and crayfish. They use their eyesight to hunt below the water surface and even have an extra set of transparent eyelids that act as a natural pair of “swim goggles” to protect their eyes.

Here are five fantastic photos of Hooded Mergansers from our annual Picture This: Your Great Outdoors photo contest. The entries for the 2019 photo contest are rolling in, so submit yours for consideration soon!

Hooded Mergansers (male) © Nathan Goshgarian
Hooded Mergansers (male) © Nathan Goshgarian
Hooded Merganser (male) © Rob Griffith
Hooded Merganser (male) © Rob Griffith
Hooded Merganser (female) © Michael Rossacci
Hooded Merganser (female) © Michael Rossacci
Hooded Merganser (male) © Sandy Murphy
Hooded Merganser (male) © Sandy Murphy
Hooded Merganser (male) © Kim Nagy
Hooded Merganser (male) © Kim Nagy
Harlequin Duck © Carol Duffy

Take 5: Winter Ducks

Winter is a wonderful time to see some colorful characters around your neighborhood—namely wintering waterfowl. In late fall and winter, the majority of waterfowl species return to wearing their bright and more colorful breeding plumages and with more than 25 species of ducks, geese, and swans that regularly spend the winter in Massachusetts, you’ll have lots to add to your birding list.

Here are five species of ducks you may spot hanging around lakes, ponds, rivers, and ocean-side viewpoints, depending on their preferred habitat. Learn more about wintering waterfowl in the winter issue of Explore member magazine and find an expert naturalist-led winter birding trip hosted by a wildlife sanctuary near you.

All of these photos were submitted to our annual Picture This: Your Great Outdoors photo contest. Check out the recently-announced winners of the 2018 contest today!

Harlequin Duck © Carol Duffy
Harlequin Duck © Carol Duffy
Red-breasted Merganser © David Peller
Red-breasted Merganser © David Peller
Ring-necked Duck © Lea Fiega
Ring-necked Duck © Lea Fiega
Common Eider © David Sheehy
Common Eider © David Sheehy
Northern Pintail © Roger Debenham
Northern Pintail © Roger Debenham
Green-winged Teal © Matt Filosa

Take 5: Migrating Waterfowl

Fall is a great time to see a variety of waterfowl as they pass through Massachusetts on their way to their wintering grounds. Brant, Surf and White-winged Scoters, and Red-breasted Mergansers are best viewed along the sea coast, while Northern Pintails, Green-winged Teal, and Ring-necked Ducks are more likely to be found in marshes or on open bodies of freshwater anywhere in the state.

To see waterfowl to best advantage, join an expert naturalist during a guided fall waterfowl program at one of Mass Audubon’s wildlife sanctuaries. Or simply enjoy these five spectacular images of migrants you might be lucky enough to spot yourself, all previously submitted to our Picture This: Your Great Outdoors photo contest.

Female Red-breasted Merganser © Nicholas Corvinus

Female Red-breasted Merganser © Nicholas Corvinus

Northern Pintails at Joppa Flats © Ken DiBiccari

Northern Pintails at Joppa Flats © Ken DiBiccari

Buffleheads © Myer Bornstein

Buffleheads © Myer Bornstein

Ring-necked Duck © Lea Fiega

Ring-necked Duck © Lea Fiega (also pictured: Mallard ducks)

Green-winged Teal © Matt Filosa

Green-winged Teal © Matt Filosa