Our goose and her mate have only produced one gosling that lived in almost 5 yrs. Their little boy who we call Jr. has been an only child for over 3 yrs. He follows mom and dad everywhere and every year when his mother goes broody he helps her build her nest then builds his own. He fills it with stolen eggs or in the least borrowed ones from his mother and one year from the ducks. We always thought he was just copying mom or trying not very well to hatch a mate. I'm ashamed to say that this year I apparently didn't take a picture of his nest under the canoe, these are from last year. With mom in the doghouse in front.
A few weeks ago his mother gave up her nest having only hatched one gosling that apparently was squished in the nest. We cleaned it up and Peachy (mama goose) and Lippy (daddy gander) were back like newlyweds roaming the yard together again. We couldn't understand why Jr. still stayed on his nest under my husband's overturned canoe. We figured that maybe Mom and Dad were running him off or that he just loved having a nest. Admittedly his nests are impressive. And Pilgrim ganders are supposed to help their mates with hatching but that's usually just keeping the eggs warm so Mom can relieve herself and grab a bite and some water. Our Lippy has never even shown that inclination. He does however bach it by hanging with the chickens while mom is on the nest and when he's not chillin with a rooster bro he comes to sit next to her nest and chase away any threat real or imagined. Jr. however is quite devoted to relieving mom and will leave his nest to sit on her eggs while she goes for a bite.
After Mom gave up her nest Jr. continued his lonely vigil until June 21st we had our children and grandchildren visiting and woke up a little late to find that Jr. had hatched 9 little goslings! His mother has taken over the mothering duties, but both Dad and Jr. are her ahem wingmen. She directs where they go and Dad and Jr. form the outer guard keeping the little fuzzy butts rounded up. Jr. who is usually scared of his own shadow has now turned into a tough guy challenging any would be gosling nappers, including one confused butterfly that mistook the fuzzy goslings for a bunch of dandelions. We had a kiddy pool for the little guys but wound up having to cut that down since their little fat bodies and short legs couldn't make it over the edge. I cannot stress enough just how adorable they are! This is their "You Came to the Wrong Neighborhood" face.