One minute I'm watching Mother Goose and her four goslings on my computer screen. Then the big goose suddenly gets up off her nest and rushes off the screen, followed by her chicks. Yipes. They're going to jump!
Mother Goose has been incubating those chicks for 28 days. Four of the eggs hatched and two didn't. They are probably sterile. She had one sterile egg last year and another the year before.
I yell to Ray that they're jumping, and he dashes upstairs to point the webcam to the edge of the roof so our many viewers can see what's happening. Meanwhile, I run outside to see if Mother Goose has flown off the roof to the ground so she can stand there and "Honk!" and call her chicks to come jump off the roof.
She's there, honking away!
All 4 chicks made the big jump, although one, for the first time in 6 years, was lying on its back looking stunned. In wild areas Canada geese often nest on cliffs and -- just like here at the Times -- the chicks have to make a long jump. Fortunately, Mother Nature has designed baby goslings like big fuzzy yellow tennis balls. They bounce, get up and run over to mom.
Our next job was to herd the Mother Goose family to a business near the Contra Costa Times, where there is a beautiful artificial stream and pond where they can live and learn how to survive in the big, wide world. I picked up the stunned chick and carried it with me, showing it to Mother Goose from time to time so she'd follow me. I felt the
When we got to the pond, the chick was strong enough to put down and I let it enter the water and swim with the family. One of our staff visited the Mother Goose family about an hour later and all four chicks were paddling around with their parents. The stunned chick was fine.
They'll spend about a month at the pond, then take another hike for a couple of blocks to a cement canal, where they can paddle to Heather Farm Park in Walnut Creek, where there is a HUGE natural pond where they can stay until the chicks are big enough to take off on their own.
Another year, and another Mother Goose family hits the road.