Part of the Bay Area News Group

Webcam: Watch the Times’ rooftop Mother Goose nesting LIVE

By Gary Bogue
Thursday, February 26th, 2009 at 6:08 am in Canada Goose, Mother Goose, Web Cam.

Mother Goose. Photo by Joe Boessenecker, Walnut Creek, Calif.
cct goose

I first wrote about the Contra Costa Times’ very own “Mother Goose” here on Feb. 19. She is a Canada goose who started nesting on our rooftop four years ago and has returned every spring since then to raise a new family of goslings.

Now you can watch our Mother Goose yourself during daylight hours via our new Webcam:

Watch her preening as she sits on her nest of redwood tree duff and incubates her eggs. Watch her stand up periodically to turn the eggs carefully with her beak to make sure they are being properly incubated. Watch her get occasional visits from another Canada goose who we think is the father of those eggs.

Speaking of the eggs … we haven’t been able to count them yet … but there are a LOT. If you are watching and think you can get an accurate or semi-accurate count, please e-mail that information to me at That would be VERY helpful.

And while I’m at it … let’s give a BIG round of applause to the two men who helped make this marvelous Webcam setup possible:

Our thanks to:

** Ray Saint Germain, Multi Media Editor, who works at the Contra Costa Times in Walnut Creek, Calif.

** Jim Lucido, Engineer, Information Technology Department (IT), at the Contra Costa Times in Walnut Creek, Calif.

Find out more about our very live Mother Goose at

Now sit back and enjoy, everyone! /Gary

[You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.]

107 Responses to “Webcam: Watch the Times’ rooftop Mother Goose nesting LIVE”

  1. Steph Zervas Says:

    Saw six eggs at 2:08 p.m. today when she got up to turn around.

  2. Paula Thompson Says:

    Saw seven eggs at 10:00 am this morning when she got up to turn around and turn eggs.

  3. Gary Bogue Says:

    Paula: Thanks for checking and letting me know. Much appreciated. Have fun. She scared us to death this morning. Looked on the Webcam and the nest was empty! No eggs! No goose! Ran out and found the goose visiting with a friend in the parking lot. They chatted a while and she flew back up to the roof. I ran back upstairs and looked out the window that overlooks her nest from a hallway. She was just in the process of UN-covering the eggs she had buried under a big bunch of down feathers to keep them warm while she was down chatting with her friend in the parking lot. Whew. Geese. You gotta love them. /Gary

  4. Maxine Nelson Says:

    Her name is Gwyneth. This is what she was affectionately called by John Armstrong, former Publisher of Bay Area News Group East Bay.

  5. colleen Says:

    I’m dying to know, how will the babies get down? Once they all hatch do you send someone up there to scoop them up and bring them downstairs?

    I raised poultry for 12 years, so I know that when they hatch, they are still stuffed on nutrients from their egg yolk; so they can go a couple days without food or water. That should give all the eggs enough time to hatch.

  6. kathy plotkin Says:

    February 28, at 2:22 pm, I counted 9 eggs!

  7. kathy plotkin Says:

    February 28th, 2:25 pm. Counted 9 eggs!

  8. Tania Selden Says:

    How does the newly-hatched family get off the roof? Where do they go to eat? What do goslings eat?

  9. Robin in Oakley Says:

    Do I see 8 eggs???

  10. Pat Says:

    There are 10 eggs now. I saw them this mornng.

  11. Robin in Oakley Says:

    Now I see 9!!!

  12. Beverly Wolf Says:

    Gary, what’s the white stuff on the roof near Mother Goose’s nest? It looks like snow, but it couldn’t be! (Unless you’ve moved CCTimes to Tahoe….)

  13. Pat Says:

    Gary, please, please tell us if Mother Goose is safe. The web site has been down since about Friday and no one tells us how she is doing. Aren’t her eggs supposed to hatch about today? We are worried about her.


  14. Pat Says:

    thank you, Gary…she is back for us to watch again!

  15. Maria of Concord Says:

    When will the Web cam be back on. She is about due to “deliver”.

  16. Lori of PA Says:

    I hope this site is up again soon. News traveled across the country to my PA office where several of us anxiously await MG’s hatching eggs. I hope we don’t miss it. We’ve been unable to view for the past couple days.

  17. Barbara of Arizona Says:

    She’s been gone now for almost an hour. Hope the eggs are okay. Can’t wait for them to hatch. Where is Mom?

  18. Pat Says:

    she is gone again! Is she all right? It the webcam coming back?

  19. Gary Bogue Says:

    Our techs have the Goose Cam back up during the daylight hours. They’re still trying to fix the problem so it’s on 24-hours a day, although you can’t see anything anyway when it’s dark. I just walked up (5 minutes ago) to the hallway with a window that looks out over the little rooftop where she has her nest and Mama Goose is sitting there happily on top of her nest.She leaves her nest every morning after covering her eggs to keep them warm while she’s gone. She flies down for a quick bite of breakfast and sometimes a short visit with the dad goose, then back to the nest. All seems well with Mama Goose. /Gary

  20. Kelley of PA Says:

    I have been watching MG daily, too. I am glad the camera is working again. I was worried about missing the blessed event!!

  21. Pat Says:

    she is coming and going this afternoon…better get those techies busy fixing it. It is just a black square right now.


  22. jenni Says:

    I see 7 eggs, can’t be sure. She seems more fidgety today….can’t wait to see the kids!

  23. buj Says:

    i must be hallucinating… this morning 3/19 the nest was empty of eggs and mom… now…she’s back…hmmmm???

  24. Gary Bogue Says:

    When Mama Goose leaves the nest for short periods to eat or visit with Dad Goose, she carefully covers the eggs with down to keep them warm until she gets back. Early on, I freaked out and thought something happened to the eggs … and was staring at the “empty” nest when she came back, uncovered the eggs, and sat down and started incubating them again. Kind of makes me wonder is she has her own “People Cam” and is watching the reactions of us humans while we’re watching her on her eggs. Humm. /Gary

  25. jenni Says:

    looks like 8 eggs, got a better view today.

  26. Adelei Says:

    Have they parked the truck underneath yet? I want to make sure babies get down safe-can’t wait until those little cuties are out and about!

  27. Gary Bogue Says:

    Adelei: They parked the truck yesterday afternoon. It was removed last night after dark and will be parked there again today during daylight hours, etc. etc. We’ve done what we can to make things easy for the dear lady and her soon to hatch brood. Now all we can do is the hardest thing of all … wait. Thanks for caring, EVERYBODY. (I’m getting e-mails and calls on this from as far away as Pennsylvania and Canada!) /Gary

  28. Jim Schnitzen Says:

    Here’s what to expect during and after the hatching process. On average eggs hatch (goslings emerge) about 36 hours after the first crack appears. It can be as fast as 12 hours or as long as 72. There is a “catching up” effect in eggs which start this process later (i.e., they hatch faster), so that all eggs complete their hatching within 12-24 hours of each other. (I tried to see if there were any cracks this morning, but couldn’t see that clearly.)

    The father normally joins the mother at the nest for this event, perhaps partly out of curiosity and interest, but also presumably to help guard the young from potential predators.

    The goslings remain at the nest for a while, where they may be brooded by the mother. Generally they’re ready to go within 24 hours. By this time they can walk and swim but not fly. (Their wings are still very short).

    Each of them swallowed the remainder of its yolk sac before leaving the egg; this provides them enough energy to last for up to 2 days without eating. Unlike with songbirds, their parents never feed them. Once they leave the nest, their parents will lead them to food, where their instincts take over and they will eat on their own.

    Birds which leave the egg covered with downy feathers, with eyes open, and ready or nearly ready to travel and feed on their own, are called precocial. Birds which hatch in a helpless state like songbirds are called altricial.

  29. Gary Bogue Says:

    Thanks for the input. I had a pretty good look through the window an hour ago and saw no cracks yet in the shells. We DID see the male standing next to the nest with the female earlier today, which was unusual. She’s also been unusually active the last few days. Maybe the chicks are stirring around inside the eggs? Again, thanks for the info /Gary

  30. Jim Schnitzen Says:

    I’m curious how close you were able to come to knowing just when the final egg was laid. The 28-day incubation period is calculated from then. (Though apparently this period can vary slightly depending on the degree of the mother’s attentivenss, my limited viewing has suggested that she is quite attentive.) I had expected at least some cracking by now!

    Yes, I also noticed that the male accompanied the female when she came back from her morning break. At first I thought “Aha!”, but then he took off after a few minutes.

    Thanks so much for setting this up. I’ve turned on a number of people.

  31. Barbara of Arizona Says:

    She certainly has been active lately. Wonder if she hears those gosling making noises in the eggs???? They just have to start cracking soon!!!!

  32. Pat Says:

    Is there danger the goslings will fall off the roof? It’s a long way down there. How soon can they fly?

  33. Pat Says:

    The site is blank this morning. Please, please, fix it so we won’t miss the first goslings.

  34. Jim Schnitzen Says:

    Pat: See Gary’s posting #27, also mine #28. They jump onto a truck below the roof, then onto the ground. From there they’ll go to a nearby meadow. They can walk and swim within a day of hatching, but it’ll be 6-7 weeks before they can fly.

    For others who are watching obsessively (like me) here’s a small interesting thing to watch for: When birds sleep at night, the generally tuck their head under a wing and go fully to sleep. When they nap in the day, they often do what’s called “quiet sleep.” During this they open their eyes every few seconds for a quick peek (to check for predators).

    If humans did this, I doubt if we would get much rest. But birds can apparently still get the benefits of a light sleep while engaged in regular peeking.

    I saw our goose doing this a couple of times yesterday. She tucked only her bill under a wing, leaving her eyes free for peeking. One time the eyelid action was quite regular–open-shut-open-shut. The other time the peeks were irregular and more spaced out.

  35. Pat Says:

    thanks, Jim. I missed those messages. Seems like they will still be at great risk in those days before they can fly.
    Now when is the webcam going to be working this morning? Yes, I’m an obsessive watcher too.

  36. Gary Bogue Says:

    Pat: Webcam has been working all morning. There are presently 90 people watching the goose even as I write this. Your problem with the cam appear to be from your end. Try logging off and rebooting your computer (turn it off and back on). Then see if you can access the Webcam. If you still have problems, e-mail me at and we can discuss. /Gary

  37. Jeanne Says:

    Lots of cracks in the eggs today, and pieces of shells that have fallen off. It’s getting exciting!!

  38. Cindi Says:

    One has hatched.

  39. N. Holt Says:

    i see a chick! 2:44

  40. Diane Taxier Kipnis Says:

    Yes! The goslings are hatching! I saw one too!

  41. Gary Bogue Says:

    The chicks are definitely hatching. Break out the pink and blue balloons! /Gary

  42. Jim Schnitzen Says:

    Anyone have any e-champagne?

  43. Pat Says:

    I saw one, too.. Big one! Thought I saw one more, but not sure.

  44. Kelley of PA Says:

    I see two goslings!

  45. Marge Edwards Says:

    I’m watching them hatch from Bailey, NC. I’ve always been a big fan of Canada Geese. This is just so cool!
    Thanks guys!

  46. Phyllis Says:

    I’ve seen three!

  47. George and Heidi Says:

    we are totally smitten. I have so much to do but absolutly cant break away. we saw the one then the three.

  48. Robin In Oakley Says:

    They are active—!!

  49. Gary Bogue Says:

    Thought you’d all like to know: the windows in the second floor hallway in the Contra Costa Times building overlooking the little rooftop where Mother Goose is hatching out her eggs are draped with pink and blue balloons put up by our Advertising Department. There’s a plate of chocolate eggs sitting on the floor … being passed out instead of cigars … as a steady stream of editorial, advertising, production, pressroom and other staff members are passing by the windows and taking quick peeks at Mother Goose as she deals with her new goslings. Break out the E-Champagne indeed!!! YAHOO! /Gary

  50. Barbara of Arizona Says:

    Momma Goose is VERY attentive. Some of the chicks look like they are trying to sneak out…… this is so cool…..

  51. Jeff Brinley Says:

    I just looked out the window and saw one of the chicks poking out from the under-side of the mother. This reminds me of the time my Dad brought home a nest with two eggs that he rescued as they were floating down the swollen Payette River in Idaho (behind our house) back in the early 70’s. He put the eggs in an incubator and both hatched within a couple of weeks.

    We put the chicks in a cage with no top or bottom out on the grass during the day and they soon were trimming it like a couple of pint-sized weed whackers. Out of the cage they followed me around our back pasture, as they grew larger they flapped their wings as they ran, or paddled (when I ran with them along side the irrigation canal).

    I moved to San Diego before they flew off, but my Dad tells me he saw a couple of Canada Geese return the next spring that he thought might have been the same birds.

  52. Jim Schnitzen Says:

    I have to say, human babies don’t do much for me at all. I usually try to fake enthusiasm for the sake of the parents. But animal babies make me so happy….

    What a blessing! What a joy to be able to watch them!

  53. Kelley Says:

    It is so nice to see MG and her babies–I was just on HSUS website, the Seal Slaughter in Canada started this morning. Knowing at least MG is safe and appreciated has cheered me up quite a bit after seeing the reports from the ice up there…

  54. Lori of PA Says:

    So exciting!!! I have seen triplets thus far. What do you call a mother of nine? This is so much better than the publicity of the octuplet mom! She has been so attentive and nurturing!

  55. Jeanne Says:

    Gary, has there been any sign of the father yet? Has he been around, but out of camera range?

  56. George and Heidi Says:

    Jim we feel the same way you do about human babies.

  57. Barbara of Arizona Says:

    Gary: There are more than three, but has anyone gotten a good look to count any more???

  58. Gary Says:

    I saw 5 and maybe 6 this morning when Mama Goose was rearranging them. Anyone else? /Gary

  59. Jim Schnitzen Says:

    I saw what you saw, Gary–5, maybe 6. My sister says she counted 6 faces. Definitely three eggs gathered in the area nearest the camera.

  60. Phyllis Says:

    I thought I counted 7-8 faces early last night.
    Is mama getting food??

  61. Gary Says:

    Mama hasn’t eaten yet today and she may not, with her wings full of new baby goslings. That’s OK. She can handle it. She’ll feed when she gets the chicks to hop off the roof and they start grazing together in the grassy field next to our building.

  62. jean Says:

    I just counted 7 chicks and 1 unhatched egg!

  63. Pat Says:

    At 10:18, I think I counted 6. She is one busy Mama!

  64. Jim Schnitzen Says:

    So there are 7 hatched now (90% sure), just 2 eggs left @ 10:20.

  65. Chris Says:

    I saw only 6 chicks, and 3 unhatched eggs when mom got up around 12pm. Is it possible these eggs wont hatch? :(

  66. Gary Bogue Says:

    There are 7 chicks. Yes, the last 3 eggs may be bad. Seems like they should have hatched by now. They just may not have been fertilized. This goose has hatched out 6 or 7 chicks for the last 4 years. /Gary

  67. Jeanne Says:

    I think it’s only two eggs left. There was one large piece of a shell that looked like a whole egg – until she stepped on it and you could see the edges.

    Gary, how long does she usually sit on the remaining eggs before giving up?

  68. Chris Says:

    I feel sorry for poor momma. She is still keeping them warm. She’s so good. It’s a common thing though I suppose. Would be nice if one more would hatch for her hard work.

  69. Gary Bogue Says:

    I have no idea how long she’s going to sit on those eggs. We’ll just have to wait and see how long it takes for her instincts to kick in.

  70. Chris Says:

    Has anyone seen poppa around since the little ones have been born?

  71. Julie Says:

    I have been watching for a while. There are seven chicks and two eggs. The chicks have all been up and about…out of camera range several times. Mama has followed. She keeps coming back to the nest. She covered up the eggs, left for a bit longer then they all came back and are now staying close. I wonder if papa is near by keeping a eye on things. I also wonder if there is much chance the eggs will hatch now. She seems unwilling to leave them. The chicks seem ready to go.

  72. Gary Bogue Says:

    We haven’t seen the dad goose in 3-4 days. I don’t thibnk he’s around, at least not in the immediate vicinity. I went outside and looked around. I don’t think those eggs are going to hatch. The chicks are indeed ready to go. Mom just has to figure it out.

  73. N. Holt Says:

    Has she ever had any unfertilized eggs in her nests in previous years?

  74. Jim Schnitzen Says:

    Those of you who were just watching at 2:03 saw why Jeanne (my sister, Post #67 above, watching from Minnesota) and I both thought for a while there were 3 eggs left, but then independently decided there just two. What appeared somewhat like a 3rd egg (but always lower than the other two) was revealed to be only a large piece of shell when she manipulated it with her bill.

    It was fascinating how she made the nest smaller a couple hours ago to better contain the two remaining eggs.

  75. Gary Bogue Says:

    The goose had two unfertilized eggs in her nest last year. I don’t recall previous years. Amazing how much we’re learning from all this. /Gary

  76. Chris Says:

    It looks like she is almost panting. Dose anyone know if that is normal?

  77. E. Glover Says:

    Amazing! We can’t leave it. I think she isn’t quite ready to give up on those two eggs, though. The kids seem ready…

  78. Barbara of Arizona Says:

    She appears to be nervous and looking everywhere for Dad. Has he been around today?

  79. Jim Schnitzen Says:

    Yes, it’ normal. Like dogs, birds have no sweat glands. So they open their bills when they’re hot to release heat. They may als hold their wings away from their bodies, so that air can circulate under the wings and help release body heat.

  80. E. Glover Says:

    Have you watched this in years past? Do you think she will take them on to the meadow today?

  81. Janet Says:

    Goslings peep a lot so it would be nice if you could produce sound also. I photographed a Canada Goose family on the Emeryville waterfront near the office buildings. Their babies are adorable.

  82. Jim Schnitzen Says:

    More on heat regulation: When birds are cold, two common techniques you might see to combat this are:
    One, fluffing out their body feathers, which traps air next to their body, which in turn holds some of the escaping heat, which then insulates them. Two, when perched, tuckng one leg up under the body. Since legs are unfeathered, a lot of heat is lost through them. A tucked leg is no longer a heat drain.

  83. E. Glover Says:

    Another wonderful site is the Bald Eagle one in OK, which also has a redtailed hawk nest site on it. The eagle pair have been taking turns hunting and feeding JJ, the baby who hatched Saturday. Two eggs which didn’t hatch there, also. JJ survived last night’s big squall. Sutton Center Bald Eagle Nest Camera Spring 2009

  84. N. Holt Says:

    one’s off the roof!!

  85. N. Holt Says:

    all are off!! thank you camera man for your live, up to date coverage!! :)3:40

  86. Phyllis Says:

    All are off the roof with mama. Thank you to the camera person for letting us see the whole progression.

  87. Molly Says:

    OK, as each gosling flung itself off the roof, I shrieked. Finally my concerned husband came and just stared at me, shrieking and cheering. Yes, we are a silly bunch of bird-lovers, aren’t we? I loved seeing them waddle off behind Mom. (happy sigh)

  88. E. Glover Says:

    They made it!!! Is the meadow close by??

  89. Barbara of Arizona Says:

    Thanks so much for the great camera action. Saw the MG move right along with her 7 goslings!!!

  90. julie Says:

    Well that was amazing ! Looks like they all made it. One little bub looks like it’s limping….Gary, where are you? Keep an eye on our babies for us all.

  91. Chris Says:

    Yeah.. the little one that was behind all the rest looked like he might be limping. I hope the fuzzy little gosling is ok.

  92. Jeanne Says:

    He might just be the youngest one, lagging a little behind his sibs.

    Yes, thank you so much to the camera person and to Gary, fo making this all possible!!

  93. Robin In Oakley Says:

    That was amazing–Thank you!!

  94. Mary Says:

    What about the other two eggs still up there!!!!

  95. E. Glover Says:

    Thank you SO much! We never left all afternoon, and had many others glued to their computers as well. Wow!

  96. Pat Says:

    what a wonderful experience this has been. I turned my back for 20 minutes and missed the whole “off the roof” part. Will we see any more pictures of them? Will Mama protect them tonight? How long are they likely to stay around the Times building?

  97. Lola Says:

    So Sad !!! We missed the take off. Is there a re-run available for those of us who missed it.

  98. Ann Devor Says:

    All of the people sitting near me in my office yesterday and today experienced the hatching and take-off of the goslings. It’s one of the best office experiences we’ve ever had, so thank you so much for setting it up and letting us take a gander at the geese! You’re the best!

  99. jenni Says:

    That was so wonderful to watch. Now I am going to go through empty nest syndrome all over again, lol. Hope she comes back next year!

  100. Jacquie Says:

    Ray Saint Germaine did a remarkable job of filming Mother Goose and her babies, and he has a video of their “flight” on the home page. But everyone should be aware that although the drop from their nesting area to the concrete seemed horrendous, all seven of the little goslings went safely waddling away behind Mama on their way to the other side of the building and the next nesting area, with their curiosity firmly in place.

  101. Linda Brandon Says:

    Thank you so much for the opportunity to watch this. I enjoyed it so much!

  102. Gary Bogue Says:

    Everyone landed fine. The truck was there, directly under the nest, but the chicks all jumped over the other side, away from the truck. All landed fine. I had an e-mail from one of the editors about two hours later, who spotted mom and dad goose and all 7 goslings swimming in a little lake two buildings over from the Times. It was all a big success. Whew! I’ll go up and check the last two eggs tomorrow. I’m sure they were bad, probably not fertile. Well, it’s been a long but successful if traumatic day.Everyone take a deep breath and go have some dinner or maybe a nice glass of wine. Yak at you tomorrow. /Gary

  103. Lori of PA Says:

    We missed the descent, so thank you so much for posting their landings. So glad to hear all survived and are thriving. Looking forward to sharing this enjoyable experience with co-workers again next year!

  104. Linnea Says:

    This morning (Weds.) there is a pair of geese at the nest. It appears the female is poking around the nest while the larger bird is on the higher roof surveying the scene. Could this be a new set of tenants or the pair who just vacated yesterday?

  105. Gary Says:

    I just created a new blog with a roundup of the last day’s events plus links to a slide show and a video detailing the successful jumps off the roof and walk to the grassy field next door.
    You can find it here

  106. Lyrinda Says:

    How do I post a new topic and photo to you, Gary? I have Firefox & Safari – Explorer does not work on my Mac. I could find no buttons indicating “Post a new topic” on this ibabuzz or the CCT websites.

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