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Gosling (Baby Goose) Reunite

If a baby goose is healthy, its best chance at survival is with its parents or other geese’ families. Adult geese will host something like a gosling ‘kindergarten’ called a creche (pronounced kresh). The goose parents act as babysitters for several families while they forage. The creche is useful in the realm of wildlife rehabilitation. Orphaned goslings can be added to the group of other babies similar in size, and the adults barely know the difference.

If you’ve been instructed to add a baby gosling with a creche, please follow these steps:

  1. Ensure that the baby you have is, in fact, a baby goose. This is VERY important. The fostering process does not work the same for ducks. Baby geese are light, olive-toned yellow, and brown. Their beaks and feet are nearly black. They have long necks and a triangular bill shape.
  2. Once you’ve identified the baby as a gosling, return to the location the baby was found. Goose families like to congregate around the water’s edge and in shady spots with lots of grass. Once you’ve located the goose family, keep your distance until you’ve determined the family is the right fit.
    Note: If there’s bad weather, the babies may be hiding under the mom’s wings.
  3. Using binoculars or the zoom on your camera, look at the babies in the prospective goose family. The orphaned gosling and the wild-roaming goslings must be the same color for this to work. Look at the ratio of yellow and light brown/grey on the bird.
  4. If the orphaned gosling and the wild-roaming goslings are the same color and size, it’s time to reunite! Help capture the attention of the adult geese by playing this baby goose sound loop.

5. Once the parent geese have noticed you and the gosling, they may start to approach. Once you are approximately two car lengths away from the family, gently release the gosling. It should run straight to its adopted family. Check out the example below.

6. Once the baby is returned to its own kind, stick around for 15 minutes or so to ensure things have gone smoothly. Sometimes bullying can take place, which includes pecking, stepping on, and chasing. If this happens, the baby needs to be caught and attempted to reunite with a different family. Please call Greenwood with any questions. Dial (303) 823-8455 from 9am – 4pm daily. 

If there are complications, please reach out to Greenwood right away.

** If the reunite process is unsuccessful and Greenwood has closed for the day, please keep the gosling in a warm, dark, and quiet space overnight. Please DO NOT feed or water. Baby waterfowl are not waterproof yet, so leaving cold water in the box with them overnight can result in hypothermia or even death. **

Thank you for taking the time to return this orphan to its own kind!

Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in CO. May 4, 2019 ; © Ken Forman

Gosling Reunite