Nesting sites for the Canada goose, the most numerous of the goose species in North America, usually are chosen in March, and eggs are laid in late March or sometime in April. The nest is most often by water, and preferably on a small island, a muskrat house or beaver lodge. She alone will incubate the usual five or six eggs, although clutch sizes vary from one to 10 eggs. Normally 28 days after the last egg is laid, the young hatch and are ready to leave the nest. During the nesting period, the female will lose 25 to 30 percent of its body weight because of the fasting that incubation imposes.

Hidden in the grasses, the female maintains a low profile with her neck down, while the male stands guard nearby, against late-arriving geese and predators. Females also will help defend against predators. Soon after hatching, both parents lead their brood of 4-ounce, downy, yellow and brown goslings across a waterway to a safe hillside on which to graze on the tender new grass. We expect to see the first newly hatched goslings by the end of April or in early May.

JIM GILBERT