Goose Nest Predation

I recently wrote about a Canada Goose nest that I was observing in Eliza Howell Park (“Canada Geese: Nesting-related Bevavior,” April 16, 2020).

I have been continuing to check on the nest almost every day, always finding the female on the nest and the male near by. Each time they were alert and quiet.

I thought something must have happened this morning (April 20) when I heard them both calling loudly long before I reached the nesting area. The nest was empty and they were both in the river

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I naturally wondered what had happened, but decided not to investigate further while they were present and clearly disturbed.

I came back about a half hour later, when the geese were quiet and sufficienly distant to be out of sight, and I managed to get to  the nest.

Resized_20200420_125910The down-filled nest was empty. I don’t know how many eggs there had been, but they were now all gone.

Looking around, I found two egg shells  on the ground about 15 feet from the nest, broken open and apparently eaten (sucked or licked out?) by some predator.

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The pattern of opening/eating the eggs might provide an important clue to the identity of the the predator. I am not very experienced in knowing how to read this clue, but my initial thought is that it is likely a mammal rather than a bird or a reptile. A coyote seems like one possibility. They are present in the park and coyotes are known to eat goose eggs.

Canada Geese pairs remain together till one of  them dies. This is probably not the only time in their life together that a nesting effort is or will be unsuccessful.

And we who observe fauna are reminded again how predation is very much a part of the natural world.

2 thoughts on “Goose Nest Predation

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