The Horton River is the most northerly river in mainland Canada. The river guides from a recently completed expedition on the Horton River shared this amazing story:
After lunch one afternoon, our group happened upon 6 White Fronted Goose gozzlings, swimming in the river. No parents in site. No contact was made with the cute, fuzzy gozzlings but they were admired from a distance. We paddled on for another 3 hours.
Later that evening, while eating supper, we herd a familiar chirping and turned to see five of the gozzlings marching up the beach to join them in camp.The fuzzy birds with ungainly large webbed feet were a comical but charming collection. They made a direct line for one of the overturned canoes. Possibly they had imprinted on it as a “a parent”. Realizing that one of the little birds had clearly already succumbed to a predator that afternoon, our group was torn between compassion and protecting the remaining group versus the knowledge that these birds had to remain wild and the best thing to do was to hope a parent was watching over them from a distance.
We tried all manner of strategies to lure them off to the water, even creating a fake “dummy” goose out of a burlap bag! But the gozzlings would have none of it. When everyone finally turned into bed, late at night beneath the midnight-sun, the gozzlings burrowed under the vestibule of one of the tents where they spent the night.
The following morning, with heavy hearts, the group exercised an elaborate diversion to embark without the gozzlings. They were a loving topic of conversation at every camp for the remainder of the trip. All agreed at the close of the trip that the memories and photos were “priceless”.