KANSAS CITY, Mo. — An unusual sight welcomes people to a Northland grocery store. With nesting season in full swing, two Canadian geese are setting up a temporary residence at the store’s entrance.
One dame, a female goose, is taking over a large planter to incubate her four eggs. With the gestation period from 28-30 days, she’ll be there for a few more weeks as her mate stays nearby to make sure nothing harms the dame or her eggs.
Many people going in the store stopped to comment on the two animals at the front entrance, including a father and daughter from the area.
“It’s kind cool to see them out there just hanging out. Everybody’s pretty much left them alone,” said Giovanni Johnson.
He was grocery shopping with his two young children, who couldn’t help but notice the animals too.
“He’s taking care of his baby eggs,” added his daughter, Sophia. “He wants to protect them from anything that wants to eat them or bite them.”
Canadian geese typically make a nest near water, like under a bush, on a lake shore, or on an island. However, some have built theirs in more urban environments, like outside commercial buildings and in planters.
“It’s remarkable how wildlife adapts to people. I mean we’ve made humongous changes to their natural habitats. We’ve reduced their natural habitats,” Bill Graham with the Missouri Department of Conservation said.
Graham said it’s possible the pavement and planter somehow remind the animals of water and small islands. While he’s seen something like it in the past from a different commercial building, he said it’s “unusual, but not that unusual.”
Canadian geese are federally protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, meaning it’s illegal to harm them, their eggs, or their nests. Geese may be harassed or scared away without a permit as long as the geese, goslings, eggs, and nests are not harmed. If you harm them, it could mean a fine of up to $15,000 or six months in jail.
“Canada geese normally won’t hurt you. They’re normally afraid of you, but nesting Canada geese can be a little aggressive,” added Graham.
The grocery store where the geese are at said it hasn’t had any problems with the animals in the two years they’ve nested there. But they did tell FOX4 that they contacted the building’s owner about the geese, who then contacted the state about potentially relocating the birds to make sure the nest is undisturbed and that small children don’t get too close.
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Graham said if you’re a commercial operator with a nest that’s concerning, contact a nuisance wildlife company.
“Some of the private contractors that deal with that. They’ll know how to handle them best,” Graham said.