Whilst waiting for some action from the pair of Canada geese featured in my blog for May 4th I was treated to the sight of another pair of geese taking their newly-hatched brood out for the first time.
Notice the other pair of adult geese that follow the chicks at the end of this video.
These are most likely a pair that do not have their own young but cannot resist the urge to look after a brood of goslings.
The odd thing is that the actual parents do not chase them off - they certainly chase off any other birds.
It may be that these additional 'parents' are related to the real parents, so all birds stand to gain genetically from protecting their genes in the new brood.
In the second video you can see a division of labour amongst the four adult geese.
One bird (the male?) leads the young and keeps a sharp lookout for predators, head held high.
The other three shepherd the brood along with their necks held parallel to the water.
At first I thought this was an aggressive pose but here it is obvious that it is the best way to control the goslings, which are all imprinted on the sight of the black and white face pattern of the adult goose.
A week later now and the goslings are looking much bigger.
This is the last time I saw them.
Hopefully the parents took them off tho a different part of the reserve.