Sunday mystery: What happened to the goslings?

Sunday mystery: What happened to the goslings?
Photo by Anne-Katrin Titze

And then there was one.

Last week, park-goers were stunned to find that just one of the four miracle goslings of Prospect Park has survived, leaving biologists and park devotees with an unsolved mystery about their fate.

The most likely theory is that two of the teensy squawkers met their maker on a treacherous mile-long walk from their nesting spot just off the Long Meadow to the lake near the Vanderbilt Street entrance.

“Folks are worried,” said park-goer Mary Beth Artz. “It’s quite a journey.”

In a miracle of nature, four goslings were born last month on an island near the dog beach, one of the first signs of life since last July’s massacre of 300 Canada geese in the name of aviation safety.

The goslings were quickly dubbed “the miracle babies of Prospect Park” because park officials had sought to prevent their birth — and the likelihood of future federal extermination — by coating their eggs with vegetable oil, an accepted humane method for restricting goose populations.

Nature found a way — but then she exacted her cruel revenge. One of the goslings died last month, and then, this week, park-goers Anne-Katrin Titze and Ed Bahlman discovered that only one gosling remained with the parents.

There were four original goslings…
Photo by Tom Callan

And thus, a mystery was born.

First of all, how did the birds get to the lake if the gosling can’t yet fly?

“We know they had access to walk out,” said Bahlman, explaining he had tracked a path the goose family likely used.

So did the two missing goslings survive? Not likely, said biologists, because goslings rarely hang out without their parents.

But there is another theory — more miracle goslings!

“It’s not uncommon for goslings to join another family if there are other moms around,” said Gary Karapu, a waterfowl biologist with the United States Geological Survey.

Perhaps Mother Nature has kept her latest pregnancy under wraps?

…then three.
Photo by Tom Callan