It starts before ice-out in the north—Canada Geese arrive and plan for their spring nest. The early birds get the best nesting spots, often on a beaver lodge, like this pair. The gander defends his territory impressively, driving off other hopeful pairs of geese. Forming a lifetime bond, the pair spends the next few weeks in their chosen area, feeding and resting from the migration north and waiting for the ice to melt and the temperatures to warm. The hen prepares her nest and will lay up to 8 eggs--then begin the brooding period. For the next 28 days, the gander will defend her and their domain; driving off other geese and predators. He will sometimes assume a low profile, as seen here, to hide his presence from unwanted human attention. Newly hatched goslings create quite a stir with the new parents. They take to the water almost immediately and rarely leave their parents sides--small, yellow balls of goose-down that float, swim, dive and eat. The culmination of months of hard work for two bonded birds.
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