Pictures of Birds: Photo Journal of a Breeding China Goose

Goose Picture

China or Chinese Goose
China or Chinese Goose | Source

Following a breeding Chinese Goose

This photo journal documents the fortunes of a China goose and her goslings. On the Leeds to Liverpool canal, near Bingley in West Yorkshire a female China goose has gone wild. Perhaps she escaped from a local collection, but she now lives with a large flock of wild geese on a greenfield site called Greenhill.

She was seen mating with a big white Embden goose early in the year, so it was no surprise when she appeared late in March with seven (7) lovely little goslings. Two days later, she had nine (9), two days after that, eleven (11). It was becoming clear she was part of a goosy threesome, one male with two females. When the China goose's eggs hatched, she moved out of the nest and the second female took over sitting on the remaining eggs. As each, seemingly pair, of goslings hatched and were ready to leave the nest, they joined the China goose and the big male helping to protect them. On the final day, the second female appeared and between them then had... wait for it... 20 goslings.

This is her story.

Gosling pictures

'Proud Mother Goose' - Day old goslings
'Proud Mother Goose' - Day old goslings | Source
Seven goslings with their China or Chinese goose mother
Seven goslings with their China or Chinese goose mother | Source

The value of observation

If ever there was something to encourage me to 'watch' bird behaviour it was this little goose. It was only by spending time on the bank over a period of time that I was able to unravel what was actually happening. It took time to reveal that she was part of a goosie threesome - with an alpha male, she as the alpha female and a subservient beta female. As forcefully as in any pack this alpha demonstrated her superiority at every turn. She was very much the one in charge.

So my advice is to get in the habit of going to the same spot on a regular basis and spend time getting to know your birds and their routine.

Gosling pictures

Day 2 - ...and then there were 9...'day 2
Day 2 - ...and then there were 9...'day 2 | Source
China goose with goslings
China goose with goslings | Source
Goose training - "yes, Dear, you can eat that."
Goose training - "yes, Dear, you can eat that." | Source

Learning to be a goose

Baby birds learn by example and these little guys are no exception. It is intriguing to watch the adults - first of all take them to water. That is usually the second day after they hatch. The adults will lead them down then take to the water and encourage the little ones to jump in. They also show them the best way to get out of the water. I watched one gosling fail to jump high enough to get out of the water. The adult male came along and dipped his head just behind the tail of the chick over and over until it reached a lower point in the bank and could get out more easily. Who says they have no intelligence?

They show their youngsters where to find the best food and how to strengthen their wings. These geese don't ever fly far so I have never seen flight lessons unlike Canada geese who are avid flight instructors.

Gosling pictures

Day 3 - She is doing her best to hide them, but there are 11 there
Day 3 - She is doing her best to hide them, but there are 11 there | Source
Female China goose and goslings - did you spot the tiny moorhen chick in the foreground?
Female China goose and goslings - did you spot the tiny moorhen chick in the foreground? | Source

Geese and gosling pictures

Two females geese with one male plus their 20 goslings
Two females geese with one male plus their 20 goslings | Source
Geese and goslings
Geese and goslings | Source
China goose and goslings
China goose and goslings | Source
China goose broods her young.  'Standing room only'
China goose broods her young. 'Standing room only' | Source
China goose and goslings 'heck, she moved'
China goose and goslings 'heck, she moved' | Source
Geese and goslings.  One adult goose is always on guard
Geese and goslings. One adult goose is always on guard | Source

Pictures of birds

Chinese goose showing off that lovely brown stripe down her neck
Chinese goose showing off that lovely brown stripe down her neck | Source
Tiny goslings with black beaks
Tiny goslings with black beaks | Source

China or Chinese Geese

They are called both. The China goose is a domestic variety of goose with origins back to the Swan goose. They are mainly white, brown or grey although you can get pure white ones. What is distinctive, is the beautiful brown stripe down the back of the neck. Chinese geese also have a knob, like a mute goose, at the base of the beak on the forehead, although this particular goose doesn't seem to have one. It is generally more evident in the male anyway. They aren't a particularly heavy bird and this one is considerably smaller than the male Embden.

In this little family, there are two goslings with black beaks and they are considerably darker than the others. It will be exciting to see what colouring they end up with. The adult female has an orange bill with a black nail at the tip.

All the adults are fiercely protective of the young, keeping them close and often keeping them between the adults. The Chinese goose is even more so. What is also interesting to note, is that most of the goslings go to her to brood, even those evidently not from her own eggs. Perhaps this is because she is the dominant female, perhaps because she is the one that first took them from the nest.  It had been said geese mostly bond to the first legs they follow, how true that is, is uncertain.

Did this surprise you?

did you know geese often lived in threesomes?

  • Yes I did
  • Well you told us so before - duh
  • No I never did
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China goose on quality cards on Zazzle

The China Goose and her goslings feature on many cards and gifts on Zazzle
The China Goose and her goslings feature on many cards and gifts on Zazzle | Source

Wildlife Photography by AnnMackieMiller

A word about the gosling pictures: All the images used here are by AnnMackieMiller and are copyright 2011. This mean they cannot be copied without permission. The images used are deliberately low resolution copies to discourage theft. High resolutions, electronic, copies are available to use on websites and blogs for a small fee. They cannot be used on print-on-demand cards and photo gifts, that right is reserved to the photographer.

Thank You Contact AnnMackieMiller for details.

© 2011 annmackiemiller

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Did you enjoy the photo diary? 11 comments

DDS profile image

DDS 5 years ago from Toronto

Once again great article!


LeeWalls profile image

LeeWalls 5 years ago from United States

I went out today, heard some birds chirping and was thinking about your articles. I came home and when I got online I found your article in my inbox. I'm so glad you shared this with us. Voted up and beautiful.


Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 5 years ago from Baltimore, MD

What adorable geese! I really enjoyed this.


annmackiemiller profile image

annmackiemiller 5 years ago from Bingley Yorkshire England Author

I'm so pleased you all like it. :0)


Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 5 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

Great article. This is something to quack about.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

Another very enjoyable hub with lovely pictures! I enjoy reading and viewing your bird diaries.


annmackiemiller profile image

annmackiemiller 5 years ago from Bingley Yorkshire England Author

thanks everyone - I really appreciate your comments.


Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 5 years ago from USA

What very beautiful photographs! You must have so much patience to be able to capture the day-to-day life of the China goose family. Voted up and beautiful!


annmackiemiller profile image

annmackiemiller 5 years ago from Bingley Yorkshire England Author

:0) that's a big grin - thank you all so much for such nice comments - made my day!


Bonitaanna profile image

Bonitaanna 4 years ago from Oil City, PA

Thank you so much. I love geese. One time I raised three white geese from little babys. I made myself a long quilted robe and every morning when I went out to feed them I would wear it and they thought I was their Mama goose. I would sit down and they would eat out of my hands. By the time they were full grown it really made my husband mad to go out the door and always step in their doodoo! He really got peeved over it and put them in his brand new Blazer the business bought and took them to the main park in town. He made a special trip to come back home to show me how much doodoo was in his brand new vehicle, he was so upset about it. He went straigt to the car wash and also bought a couple of the air freshners for the Blazer!!!!! I just laughed, and laughed!


RaintreeAnnie profile image

RaintreeAnnie 2 years ago from UK

Very interesting page about the geese. Lovely insight to their behaviours and love the story about the adult goose helping the little one out of the water. Beautiful photos.

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