Many people would not consider geese to be the friendliest waterfowl.
But that didn’t stop a Calgary couple from Elbow Park from befriending two of them, “goosey daddy” and “goosey mommy,” according to Coco Cran. Her husband, Jamie Cran, prefers “Romeo and Juliet”.
The pair said the pair of geese have returned to their planter for three consecutive years when it comes time to lay their eggs.
“I’ve never lived with birds like that, and I come to see at night if she’s okay and when she’s going to lay, you know? It’s very interesting,” Coco said in an interview with Calgary’s Elizabeth Withey. Eye opener.
It’s not uncommon for geese to return to one location when nesting, said Holly Lillie, executive director of the Wildlife Conservation Institute of Alberta.
“It didn’t seem like the situation was one they didn’t like,” she said.
“I wouldn’t say the geese are used to it, but I think they probably think the owners are less of a threat.”
The Crans aren’t too put off either. They provide the geese with snacks and conversation when they return each spring.
This year, the geese made their return in early April, with Mama Goose returning to her wrought-iron throne. Thursday, she had four eggs.
“Overnight,” Jamie replied, when asked if they would hatch soon.
Respect the wildlife in your yard
Of course, not everyone wants to share their garden with a couple of geese, and if they do, prevention is key.
Once geese have nested, they are protected under the Migratory Birds Convention Act.
“So you have to leave them alone at this point,” Lillie said.
Geese prefer a location close to, but not too close to, water, Lillie said, and they like a little height to watch out for potential predators. She recommends blocking balconies before spring.
“They’re very independent, and we just advise people to let the family do their thing,” she said.
Geese can lay up to 12 eggs and they are incubated for about 25-30 days.
The female goose doesn’t really need to eat during this whole time, Lillie said, because she’s fattening up to prepare for nesting.
“Leaving food or water for geese may actually attract predators instead,” she said.
“It’s a personal decision, but we generally don’t advise feeding [them].”
When the goslings hatch, they will already be able to walk and swim.
This is something the Crans have prepared for in the past, by laying down cushions to soften the fall when the goslings come out of the planter.
After that, it’s a bittersweet farewell.
“They all go down the river and they go,” Coco said.
“But next year they come back.”