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Happy Father's Day

Updated: Sep 12, 2023

The animal kingdom is full of amazing dads who know how to show some serious love and care for their little ones. In honour of Father's Day, let's give a shoutout to a few of those Vancouver Island animal dads who go the extra mile for their kiddos!

Canada Geese

Ok ok ok...I know Canada Geese have a bad rap! They've earned the nickname Cobra Chickens (although we've always gotten along). Their cheeky attitudes don't prevent them from being phenomenal parents!

Once a goose (female) and gander (male) pair up, they're in it for life. Dad is hands-on from the start by communicating with their goslings inside the egg. Mom will keep the eggs cozy, while dad plays the ultimate distraction game and keeps those predators away. As soon as the eggs hatch, it's family time. Mom will lead while dad guards the rear. They're a parade ready to conquer the world!

Both parents share the caring and protecting duties, especially during the journey from nest to rearing area. They can walk for days, covering kilometers and will team up with other families, keeping their broods safe. It's not unheard of for a goose family to even adopt orphan goslings as their own.

Flying lessons come once the goslings have grown their feathers. Both parents teach them and the family unit will stick together for about a year. Young geese follow their parents during migration, then find their own group.

Great Blue Herons

These birds are the ultimate team players when it comes to raising their little ones!

Dad collects nest materials while mom sets up shop. When it's time to incubate the eggs, both parents will take shifts (dad during the day and mom at night). This allows them to share in the hunting duties.

Once the chicks hatch, mom and dad give them equal care for a couple of weeks. As the chicks grow, both parents take breaks from the nest to find food but always come back to check on their little ones. After about 10 weeks, the young herons spread their wings and venture off on their own, marking the end of the parenting journey.

These heron parents definitely know how to make teamwork and equality look effortless! Wolves

Photo via Steve Woods
Photo via Steve Woods

Little is known about the reproductive behavior of Vancouver Island Coastal Sea Wolves. They are related to grey wolves, who are generally monogamous, and mated pairs usually remain together for life. The alpha male and female form unbreakable bonds and take charge of the parenting gig. Mom won't leave the den for the first three weeks and will rely solely on dad to provide enough food and protection while she nurtures their young.

Once those pups are weaned, they are all about that regurgitated meat! Yep, you heard that right. Dad and his wolf pack buddies bring back food in their bellies, and when the pups start licking around their mouths, voila! The meat comes back up for a tasty treat. Talk about gourmet dining, wolf-style. Dad doesn't stop at being a food delivery service. Oh no, he's also a mentor to his pups, sharing his hunting expertise with the whole extended family crew of siblings, aunts, and uncles.

So let's raise a paw and give a big salute to all those incredible animal dads out there.

Happy Father's Day, you magnificent beasts!

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