May 2, 2014 6:40 pm

Residents, geese trying to co-exist near Brampton daycare

From a distance the mother goose looks harmless – calm in fact. But step too close and her motherly instincts take flight.

The pair have had close calls with staff and parents outside a Brampton daycare.

Lee-Anne Arkell, the owner of the daycare said the problem is “people don’t know they’re there.”

The mother goose has situated herself neatly inside some shrubs on the boulevard that separates the parking lot from the sidewalk.

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Arkell people are walking “too close and her and the father are getting a little aggressive.”

But that kind of behaviour is expected at this time of year says Nathalie Karvonen, from the Toronto Wildlife Centre, especially when it comes to the gander.

“Geese are very, very good parents” she said.

Karvonen says males are typically more aggressive because the females spend almost 24 hours a day on the nest,

“it’s actually very, very hard on them,” she said.

The gander has even been known to chase down a passing car but as a mom herself, Arkell says that’s “what every parent would do.”

The Canadian Wildlife service says some 400 thousand Canada geese live in southwestern Ontario, many in urban centres.

The monogamous pairs generally choose to nest in grassy areas, close to water and food. Living in cities, Karvonen says, they seem to have learned that living near busy streets and pedestrian areas keep natural predators at bay, so that’s why conflict with people are on the rise.

Karvonen says a simple and safe solution for both goose, gander and people is to put up a snow fence on the side of the nest that people are on,

“That way the gander will actually feel a certain degree of safety as well,” she said.

If a home or building owner wanted to have a goose nest moved they would have to apply for a special permit from the Canadian Wildlife Service.

Karvonen says the Canadian Wildlife Service “don’t issue [the permits] easily” because the geese are protected by the migratory birds act.

Peekaboo Child care centre owners say they have no intention of moving the geese or requesting that someone else move them. Instead, they’re using the birds as a teaching opportunity for the kids.

Arkell looks beyond the centre and points out that “it used to be a huge farmer’s field,”

Now it’s turned into town houses and detached and semi-detached homes.”

So she says, it is a lesson from mother goose: they can co-exist.

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