About a week ago I stopped at a big box electronic store in Denver to check out an electronic device. After I did my electric thing and walked out to the parking lot I got that particular sinking feeling one gets when one sees an animal in distress. There was a goose (at first I thought it was a duck – I wasn’t that close) squatting on the blacktop parking lot surface – in the middle of the parking lot! I watched it for a few minutes; it wasn’t getting up. I know enough to know that a creature like that doesn’t lay down on a blacktop parking lot surface for an extended period unless there’s a darn good reason.
I was running late. I had to leave, so I left and drove to my destination, making a mental note to call someone, and hoping that the bird could and would soon fly away. When I arrived at my destination, I told my hosts that I needed to use their phone book, and call someone about the stranded fowl. I called the local animal shelter, however, since it was a Sunday evening I was getting only electric voices on the answering machine. I finally called the non-emergency police number and was transfered to animal control. I then told the dispatcher of the honker’s possible troubles and asked the woman for advice since I didn’t know exactly what to do. She said she’d pass the information on to the animal control people and they would take care of it.
Later in the evening we decided we would check on our feathered friend before heading home. We gathered a box and a couple of beach towels to “handle” the quacker if we had to pick it up and drive it to a shelter or animal hospital.
As we approached the parking lot, we saw it’s long-necked silhouette and we all sunk a bit as we realized that a healthy bird would have flown away by now. It must be injured! Whoa, it was now standing up. There was some relief; standing is an improvement over being completely down, so maybe the creature will survive after all. We were feeling better but still concerned; we wern’t really sure about what to do. This duck or goose whatever it was was walking around a Circuit City parking lot at 9:00 on a Sunday night.
Then the dark clouds parted and the moon shone through when someone in our party spoke with a CC employee who knew the whole scoop. Turns out that the “goose” was a gander and his “lady” was nesting with her eggs or hatchlings by some bushes on a “curbed planter island” (raised area with soil and greenery) “smack-dab” in the middle of the parking lot. Turns out they must have been hatchlings, read on…
He said that the male was walking around (fifty feet from the female) as a decoy to distract people from focusing in on Mom & the little ones. We found the female on the “planter island” which, incidently, was surrounded by a three quarters of a dozen bright orange parking cones. The employee said that the birds were Federally protected though we never found out who placed the parking cones, nor did we see the goslings – maybe they were under mom’s wing when we saw her on the planter.
Talk about a nice ending, we were all – to say the very least – elated…We went out into the night to celebrate.
I returned yesterday – Mothers Day – to shoot some video clips. Alas, the geese and the parking cones were gone; only a few tufts of down remain in the bushes. *An employee told me that the goslings & parents flew the coop. Major kudos to the people of Circuit City.
*They must have been squatting for, at least, a couple of months. My understanding is that goslings can’t fly untill they’re about eight weeks old.