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Duck, duck goose: UPDATED with photos

Posted: June 28, 2008 3:39 a.m.
Updated: August 29, 2008 5:03 a.m.

A flock of Canadian geese, and a few ducks, waddle across the 10-lane Newhall Ranch Road at McBean Parkway a few times a day to get from one lake to another. Neighbors are concerned for the birds' safety.

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Why did the geese cross the road? To get to a lake on the other side.

A flock of Canadian geese, and a few ducks, waddle across the 10-lane Newhall Ranch Road at McBean Parkway a few times a day to get from one lake to another. Some drivers honk their car horns and swerve, while others screech to a halt to block traffic.

"Cars are slamming on their brakes and swerving," said Valencia resident Cathy Hanvey, who drives through the intersection several times a day. "Someone's going to get in an accident and be hurt or killed."

According to eyewitnesses, the birds commute every day at feeding time from a tiny pond on the north side of the street to the lake with the lighthouse on the other side.

Unenlightened to the perils of vehicular traffic, the brazen birds ignore signs with the flashing red hand, the honking cars and quack their way across a street that has a speed limit of 50 mph and sees about 24,000 cars per day, according to Santa Clarita city data.

Since birds of a feather tend to flock together, they don't cross the street alone. The geese cross in groups of about 10, Hanvey said. A week ago, Hanvey was approaching the intersection when she saw a flock cross in the middle of the street.

"I saw cars whizzing by and the geese started to cross and cars started swerving and I had to make an illegal turn and block Newhall Ranch with my car and got out and shooed them back onto the grass," she said.

"I just parked my car diagonally across Newhall Ranch Road so all the cars had to stop. One lady was yelling something out of her window to get the geese to get back. Everybody was kind of looking at me and I was shaking like a leaf, but I just couldn't imagine watching those poor geese get hit."

But the geese didn't seem too shaken.

"The geese aren't terribly afraid of cars or people so I was clapping my hands and waving my arms and said, "Get out of the street, get out of the street!" she said. "They turned around and walked onto the grass, but they weren't in a big hurry."

The next day, she witnessed two women blocking traffic for the same reason, she said.

Another time, Hanvey pulled over to save some ducklings whose mother had just been hit.

"It was right at dusk and we couldn't see them and the cars were whizzing by and it was horrible," she said. "We spent about an hour and a half on Newhall Ranch Road trying to fish the little teeny baby ducks out of the shrubbery. We saved three of them."

It's the fledglings she worries most about, said Hanvey, who drives through that intersection several times a day.

"During this time of year, there's a lot of babies and they can't fly," she said. "The mothers have no choice but to walk them across the street."

Valencia resident Sharon Nersesian has also stopped her car on Newhall Ranch Road three times to block traffic, but the cars didn't stop. They just swerved around her, she said.

She hopes someone will put up a duck crossing sign, she said.

"I'm afraid one of these days I'm going to go around the corner and see nothing but feathers," the animal lover said in a shaky voice. "I dream about it at night. It's just awful."

Nersesian has started counting the birds every day. As of Friday, there were about 20 ducks and 12 geese.

"We keep tabs on them," she said.

She sees them cross the street at feeding time, so five days a week, she feeds the birds on the south side of the road to discourage them from crossing.

"If only they would just stay put," she said.

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