Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Make way for goslings (and ducklings) May 11, 2021

Goslings huddle near pond’s edge at the River Bend Nature Center in Faribault. Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo.

EVERY SPRING, I FIND myself drawn to pond or river’s edge to watch the goslings, the newborn offspring of Canadian geese navigating the shoreline and water.

Geese are fierce protectors of their young. Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo.

They are just so darned cute. Downy yellow. Sometimes huddling in a circle of sibling closeness.

Swimming into the pond at River Bend. Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo.

Still in the protective care of their parents. And, yes, geese can prove fierce when safeguarding their young. I steer clear of these young families, preferring to frame family photos from afar.

Prairie Pond at River Bend. Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo.
I love how the goslings are bookended in a protective line. Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo.
A goose is barely visible in the dried grasses of Prairie Pond. Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo.

The ponds of River Bend Nature Center (especially the one along Rustad Road) are good spots to spot geese and ducks. When I see young waterfowl, I am reminded of Robert McCloskey’s children’s picture book, Make Way for Ducklings. It won the 1942 Caldecott Medal for most distinguished American picture book and tells the story of a duck family in Boston.

A duck pair in Prairie Pond. Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo.

While River Bend lies a long ways from McCloskey’s Boston Public Gardens pond setting, the universal appeal of ducklings spans the miles between Massachusetts and Minnesota.

A duck emerges among the grasses in Prairie Pond. Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo.

Whether in a city, rural area or nature center, downy babies in the care of their parents create, at least for me, a sense that all is well in the world. That no matter the worldwide challenges—especially during a pandemic—no matter the community and personal challenges, the cycle of life continues.

Geese nesting at River Bend. Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo.

Every spring I make way for ducklings and goslings, celebrating their arrival by documenting their arrival. With my camera. But even more, by framing them in my memory during this season of spring.

© Copyright 2021 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


6 Responses to “Make way for goslings (and ducklings)”

  1. Valerie Bollinger Says:

    Hi Audrey,

    Wonderful photos of the goslings…I, too, have photos of those recently hatched in our neighborhood. So cute and cuddly from a distance. 😉

    For some reason, the way I comment on your blog has changed and I guess I won’t comment there for a while and wait to see if it changes back. I do not get a full screen so I cannot read what I am typing (only the upper half of the letters – which is weird! and hard to know if I’ve misspelled a word) and I have to reenter my name and email each time….which is different than before. So for now, I will be reading your blog, but w/o comment though.

    The book about the CO family of 12 sounds interesting. I hope to get it sometime to read.

    Enjoy the sunshine and beautiful blue sky. Warmer weather is on it’s way…finally!

    Love, Valerie

    • Valerie, I’m sorry for the issues you are having with commenting and wish I could help. You might want to google the WordPress help desk with this issue. I did and found another person having the same problem, albeit quite awhile ago. On my end, the way comments show changed a few weeks ago also.

  2. I was doing duck, duck, goose in my head while reading this. Now I probably have this stuck in your head – ha! It is babies season and oh such cuteness! I have not seen baby ducklings in the hood. We do have a baby gator and the turtles are busy laying eggs. Then the three otters are back in the pond too. Happy Exploring – Happy Day – Enjoy 🙂

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