Most of the things we learn to count on aren't always good things -- death and taxes, being two of the more unsavory examples.

So it's particularly nice to know we can count on Mother Goose to return to the Contra Costa Times building every March to build a nest, hatch a clutch of eggs, and then swim off into the sunset.

Like clockwork, the Canada goose started building her nest the first of March and has, so far as we can tell, laid five eggs, which will hatch in 28 to 30 days.

This is the eighth year that a Canada goose -- we believe it's the same one because her habits are the same -- has used the overhang to build her nest. It is well protected by redwood trees and hard to spot, which is another reason we think it's the same goose.

Staff Archives: A mother goose and her hatchlings on the roof of the Contra Costa Times building in Walnut Creek, Calif.,on Thursday, April 5, 2012.
Staff Archives: A mother goose and her hatchlings on the roof of the Contra Costa Times building in Walnut Creek, Calif.,on Thursday, April 5, 2012. (Doug Duran/Staff Archives)

The roof has a wealth of nest-building materials and she gathers them into a neat pile and uses her own down and feathers to line it, keeping the eggs warm and protected. Mother Goose will spend the next four weeks sitting on the nest with only an occasional break. The anxious dad stands guard nearby.

Former pets and wildlife columnist Gary Bogue first discovered the nest eight years ago, and for the past few years senior multimedia producer Ray Saint Germain has set up a video camera to catch the action. Ray once again has the camera rolling so we can watch Mother Goose from sunup to sundown at www.ustream.tv/channel/mother-goose-2013.

There is a lot of quiet time, but trust me, the first time you get a look at the eggs, your heart will beat a little faster. And when they start hatching? You won't want to leave your computer.

Here are some frequently asked questions -- and answers -- to help understand what you're seeing.

  • Why does Mother Goose build her nest on a building and not near the water?

    Safety is a big issue for birds. Ground nests are more vulnerable to predators. The Times' building nest is perfect. The surrounding trees and building conceal the nest, and intruders can be spotted immediately.

  • Sometimes Mother Goose leaves the nest but we don't see any of the eggs. Has someone taken them?

    Mother Goose carefully covers the eggs with down before taking off to feed, drink or spend quality time with Father Goose. She is only gone for 10 to 15 minutes and is close by. The hidden eggs are perfectly fine.

  • Why can't we watch Goose Cam at night?

    We would need to use lights to illuminate the nest and we don't want to do anything to disturb her.

  • How many eggs will Mother Goose lay?

    If tradition holds, she will lay six. She has laid eight before, but most often it's six. One year she had seven eggs and all hatched.

  • How will the goslings get off the roof?

    It's rather harrowing for us to watch, but they jump. It's all very natural and their fluffy down protects them. In the past seven years, all the birds have jumped and been just fine.

    Within two days of hatching, Mother Goose will fly to the ground and start calling her chicks. Eventually, one will take the plunge and the others follow in rapid succession.

  • Then where do they go?

    Mother Goose and Father Goose lead the family on a short trip to a large pond and fountain near the Times building. They will live there for a while, then head to Heather Farm Park and then on to other adventures.

  • Does the goose have a name?

    No, but you can suggest one by emailing me. And if you have any other questions, send them my way or post them on the video site.

    Contact Joan Morris at jmorris@bayareanewsgroup.com; or P.O. Box 8099, Walnut Creek, CA 94596.