Are people encroaching on goose territory? Or vice versa?
Watch above: Geese are nesting, sometimes in peculiar places, and lately they’ve needed a little extra help with traffic control. Kendra Slugoski has the story.
EDMONTON – Edmonton emergency crews have had their hands full this week, but some of the calls they’ve responded to have been less than likely.
“It’s definitely outside the norm, for sure,” says Sgt. Damien Cordrey with the Edmonton Police Service (EPS).
Cordrey was one of the officers called out to Yellowhead Trail Friday morning, when a goose and her three goslings were attempting to cross the road during the busy morning rush hour.
“It made me laugh on my way there,” Cordrey says. “But I tell ya, once I got there, turned on my lights and I actually refused to leave until I knew that the little babies were safe.”
With three children of this own, Cordrey says his parental instincts kicked in. He and a fellow officer used their police cruisers to block traffic and watched closely as the group made their way safely across the street.
“It was pretty neat to see,” he says, adding motorists were extremely patient.
“There was no horn honking or swearing at us as they went by, people were just happy to see us protecting these little babies.”
Mother goose and her babies were then picked up by animal control officers and taken to a safe green space.
Earlier this week, Edmonton fire crews were called to assist a goose and gander with their gaggle of goslings, who were born atop an elevator shaft near a a Mill Woods seniors’ residence.
And on Thursday, a feathery family that found itself in a bit of trouble was brought back to safety after being trapped in a downtown Calgary parkade, unable to cross the street.
While this is the time of year geese usually tend to come back north to nest, experts say the goose population is on the rise.
“We have more geese. Not just in Edmonton, ” says Dr. Colleen Cassady St. Clair, a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Alberta. “Their populations are increasing all over North America.”
And while some may believe it’s due to urban expansion and humans encroaching on animal territory, St. Clair says that’s simply not the case.
“If you look at the more recent past, it’s probably more the case they’re encroaching on our habitat. They’re coming into cities more and more.”
St. Clair believes there are a few reasons for that.
“They like to be in cities where people protect them from what would otherwise be their predators,” she explains. “They like our type of lawn best – Kentucky bluegrass – they love to eat that.”
And while geese may be popping up in some unusual areas – construction sites, the Edmonton Expo Centre, and West Edmonton Mall (see pictures below) – the sight of them can, at times, be pretty impressive.
“Protecting these little babies and their mom… everyone’s getting involved,” says Cordrey. “It’s amazing to see, actually.”
With files from Kendra Slugoski, Global News.
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