Across the railroad tracks from the pond and the river is a large nest on a power pole.
It was built by ospreys.
Ospreys are large predatory birds that catch and eat live fish.
They also feed those fish to their young. For this reason ospreys build their nest high and near bodies of water. Osprey chicks stay in the nest and are fed by their parents until they grow large and strong enough to fly and survive on their own.
But this year it is not ospreys in the big nest.
Canada Geese have moved in.
(Maybe they got a sweet deal on the nest when the ospreys couldn’t make mortgage payments).
A big female goose is spending time there hatching out her eggs.
The location is certainly safe from enemies such as foxes and raccoons. And Mrs. Goose has a great view of the surrounding area.
But according to research ducks and geese don’t bring food to their babies. The little ones are not able to eat until they reach water. As soon as ducklings and goslings hatch they leave the nest and follow their mom to a nearby pond or stream.
Waterfowl have occasionally been known to nest in high places. Fortunately the babies weigh almost nothing so when they jump they float more than fall to the ground.
There are stories of people catching leaping wild ducklings and goslings or putting out hay to soften the fall when little ones have to dive from a nest built over a sidewalk in town.
The baby Canada Geese in this osprey nest will have a big challenge right away in their little lives. I hope their parents rethink their nesting location next year.
A goose has built a nest very high up, do we need to do anything? How will the goslings get down?
Geese have been known to build nests high enough off of the ground to catch the attention of concerned observers. In many cases, when the nest is the equivalent of only one story high, there is no need for concern. When hatched, the goslings will follow the mother goose down by jumping and floating (not flying) to the ground (they weigh very little when first hatched). In the ideal situation, the gosling will be able to land on a soft surface such as grass, water, soil or other vegetation (i.e., not pavement or stones). Even at this safe jumping height there are possible complications depending on where the nest is located.
Link to a story about leaping goslings: http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=105x8735898