A female Canada goose has returned to nest on a Contra Costa Times’ rooftop again this year for the 4th year in a row.
She’s a couple of weeks early this year and most of us here at the Times figures it probably has to do with the weather.
There’s a truck awning outside the Times’ production office. The small roof/awning covers an area where delivery trucks can back in to deliver whatever it is they are delivering. There’s a row of redwood trees nearby and dried redwood duff falls onto the top of the awning. The goose scrapes all this “soft,” dried material up into a pile, scoops out a depression in the middle and lays her eggs.
She lays anywhere from two to eight eggs.
Mama goose then spends the next 28 days incubating those eggs.
When the eggs hatch, in a matter of minutes the fuzzy goslings are running around on the little rooftop. Mama goose waits until a delivery truck backs in under the awning, then encourages (shoves?) her chicks to jump off the edge. The soft, fuzzy chicks bounce off the truck top like giant fuzzy tennis balls and wait on the ground until mama goose flies down to join them.
The newspaper’s security guard shack is a few feet away and in years past, the security guard has carefully escorted the goose family safely through the parking lot and into a large green grassy field next to the newspaper. There they feed on the tender grass blades for a few days until the chicks are strong enough for mama goose to herd them to a nearby canal and they swim off into the sunset.
Canada geese often nest on cliffside ledges in the wild and the chicks — very light in weight and covered with thick down — are able to hop out of the nest and bounce on the ground at the bottom of the cliff without injury.
I get frantic calls every spring from businesses throughout the Bay Area when they discover similar goose nests on their rooftops. I reassure them that the chicks will be able to make it down on their own … and so far they have.
Looks like another one of Mother Nature’s wild species has managed to adapt to living with us humans in the Urban and Suburban Wilderness — our backyards.
Gotta go now. Time to go stand in line at the window in the hallway next to the little rooftop area where our Newspaper Goose is nesting. /Gary