I took my camera to my birthday brunch, thinking I would snap some family photographs, but once there, I didn’t really think about taking photographs. So, for today’s post, I won’t have any accompanying images. Well, I can share this one.
Today’s a good day.
Instead of going to Frank’s Flats, this morning, I decided to take Max over to Sikome Lake and check on the status of the female goose on the Osprey Platform.
She finally broke her brooding silence and was honking away and very active on her nest, after about four weeks of stoic waiting. This could only mean one thing. And, sure enough, before leaving, I witnessed the tiny bobbing heads of some of her offspring. As a result, my own motherly defenses surfaced and I got on the phone as soon as I got home, feeling very powerless and somehow, invested.
First, the Fish Creek Park Conservation Officer (didn’t get his name) returned my call and answered all of my questions, patiently, but also, firmly. I felt huge confidence after he made two things clear to me, 1. it is a criminal offence to mess with nesting birds or wildlife under Provincial jurisdiction and 2. Mother Goose is doing what is natural to her, or she wouldn’t be there. So, after saying good-bye, I decided that I was going to let go of my fears and upset over the potential loss of life and to accept that all is happening as it was/is meant to be.
Second to this interaction, I received a lovely and informative letter via e mail from Alison Anaka, the Environmental Specialist for Enmax, the company that is responsible for the maintenance and establishment of almost twenty platforms around the city. Alison has given me permission to share her information with my readers…communication that might be appreciated by my friends living, here, in the deep south.
I am very happy you were able to speak to one of the CO’s – they are fantastic and we work closely with them when in FCP. I would have liked to call you myself but I didn’t have your number.
I did write an email to you earlier today but hadn’t sent it yet – essentially saying the same thing as the CO – that Canada geese and their nests are federally protected under the Migratory Bird Convention Act, and ENMAX cannot remove or disturb a nest once the eggs are laid. It is unfortunate that our crews were not able to clear the existing nesting structure at Sikome Lake and that a Canada Goose essentially “stole” the nest site away from the osprey, but nests being re-used by other species is a natural and common occurrence.
I can also confirm that ENMAX did consider installing another platform near Sikome Lake, but it is not as easy as it may appear. The current structure is part of an energized line within right-of-ways granted by Alberta Environment (Fish Creek Park) and Alberta Infrastructure. Both of these entities were approached for permission to put an additional platform up in the vicinity of the existing line, however, each required a number of approvals that can take several weeks to obtain. As the osprey are not nesting on an energized structure or in an unsafe location, this was not considered by either entity to be an emergency situation.
As it was more likely that the goslings would hatch and vacate the nest before a new platform could be installed, ENMAX has decided to wait until fall to install the new platform in a more accessible location – so it can be cleared annually. As geese incubate their eggs for 25- 30 days I would expect the goslings to appear any day now. Once hatched and dry the goslings will follow their parents by leaping off the platform to the grass below (they will be ok!!). Once this occurs, if the osprey are not happy with their nesting situation they may return to the platform – still plenty of time to start a nest and lay eggs if they haven’t already. The new platform will be in place (and goose-free) for their return in spring 2018.
If you are interested, I can provide links to some videos which document geese adopting osprey nests and newly hatched goslings leaping from trees and platforms to join their parents on the ground. Nature is truly amazing!
If you see any other bird or wildlife issues that you think I or ENMAX should know about, please reach out to us – feel free to call or email me anytime with reports of what you see going on or if you have any other concerns. I appreciate your input, and knowing that you are as concerned about the safety of the birds as I am.
I really appreciate this response. Every year I am learning more about the various programs in our city. I hope that by educating myself, I can contribute more and more to the health of our natural ecosystems.
It is my hope that there will be a few survivors at the platform this season and I’m grateful that the matter or relocation will be handled before our next spring season.
The walk at Sikome revealed a large number of Yellow-headed Blackbirds, Red Winged Blackbirds and two pair of Common Mergansers. Along the roadway, a bunch of lavender coloured wild violets were growing. It was a beautiful morning walk.