Goose stakes claim sending plans afowl

Alberta farm equipment dealer works around mother goose as it moves machinery onto new lot

The Canada goose looks out on a sea of green from her perch atop a pile of gravel on the outskirts of Lethbridge.

But the green she sees is John Deere green because her chosen nesting site is at the new 14-acre location of Western Tractor, which moved into its new digs in mid-April.

Amid the four-day frenzy of moving equipment, parts and offices, the goose and her four eggs presented an additional wrinkle.

However, it has also generated unexpected attention for Western Tractor and interest from the 70 staff members.

“It’s kind of funny,” said Western Tractor president Steven Dyck.

“It’s costing us a little bit of time and a little bit of money, but for the sake of respecting Mother Nature and the fact that you just don’t predict these kinds of things … we’re happy to wait it out.”

Dyck said the gravel pile will remain until the eggs hatch, which should occur within the next several weeks, depending on when they were laid.

“We were stockpiling our gravel because the road bans were going to come off, so we had quite a large mountain of gravel sitting here. A couple thousand truckloads,” said Dyck.

The idea was to continue preparing the equipment yard in preparation for the big move.

“As we started to whittle away at the yard, we got down to about half the pile and suddenly this goose popped her head out.

“So the guys from McNally’s Contracting went up there and sure enough, she’d laid four eggs right on the top of it.”

Staff members have now dubbed the pile “goose mountain” and are holding a contest to name the goslings.

Some obvious monikers come to mind.

“There probably is one going to be named John. And we sell MacDon, so Mac might be another one,” said Dyck.

Deerie has not been mentioned, but Waterloo (or Water Lou?) is another option, for obvious connections to water but also in light of John Deere’s plant in Waterloo, Ont..

Several executives from John Deere’s headquarters in Moline, Illinois, are expected to attend a grand opening in July, but Dyck wasn’t keen on a suggestion that the goslings be named after those visitors.

“I don’t know if they would appreciate that or not,” he said with a laugh.

Dyck said he has been in contact with provincial and federal wildlife authorities about the best way to handle the situation. Canada geese are protected to some extent, so there are laws to be followed.

The birds tend to return to the same nesting spots year after year, so the arrival of Western Tractor apparently didn’t deter this goose from nesting in the spot that was a vacant lot one year ago.

“This goose was probably here before we were, so we want her to come back next year and we don’t mind,” Dyck said.

“We want to be the environmentally conscious corporate citizen out there, and that’s really the motivation behind this. We’ll move the gravel once the goslings are gone.… The inconvenience I think is worth it. They’re part of our ecosystem.”

Contact barb.glen@producer.com

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