(noun) A specialized term for a young goose, typically still covered with down and unable to fly but easily foraging and swimming on its own in a family flock under the protective eyes of its parents. Both male and female goose chicks are referred to as goslings. The term is usually only applied to the youngest chicks, however, and when juvenile geese begin to show flight feathers and adult plumage they are not typically called goslings.
Goslings are inexperienced and often clumsy birds, and their soft plumage, large eyes, undeveloped wings and high-pitched squeaking calls make them endearing to birders and non-birders alike. It is important to note, however, that adult geese are extremely protective of their young and can become aggressive to defend their goslings. Birders visiting local ponds should also avoid feeding goslings bread, which does not provide the proper nutrition for healthy growth.
All young waterfowl can be challenging to identify because these birds are deliberately camouflaged for protection before they mature. Goslings can be distinguished from ducklings, however, based on their larger size and longer necks, as well as a more triangular bill. Because goslings are never far from their parent birds, the entire flock they associate with can also be a clue to proper identification.
Photo – Gosling © Tim
GAH-zleeeng or GAH-sleeeng