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UPDATED: Take a gander at Bridgeport geese

Community: Waterfowl living in Valencia community’s man-made lakes often dangerously cross street

Posted: April 5, 2010 10:27 p.m.
Updated: April 6, 2010 4:55 a.m.

Fifteen-year-old Mindy Martin feeds a couple of Canada geese near the Bridgeport lighthouse on Monday.

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Jim Martin stepped into the middle of Bridgeport Lane on Monday afternoon, halting vehicles in both directions.

Martin caught his friends jaywalking, and felt he had no choice but to get out of his vehicle and help the clueless feathery dawdlers defy death and safely cross the street.

He and his wife, RaeAnn Martin, often find themselves in the middle of the road, shooing the daring Canada geese across busy streets. The couple lives in Bridgeport with its two teen daughters, Mindy and Megan.

“After you’ve raised up your own family and the same group of geese keep coming year after year, you become attached,” Martin said. “There’s this bond and you’ll go out of your way to protect them.”

In early spring, the Martins annually see the same duo of geese return to hatch their young. The family discovered a new nest Easter morning below the walking bridge that encompasses the lighthouse.

The family’s Bridgeport home sits on the east corner closest to the Bridgeport lighthouse and manmade lake where so many geese and ducks spend their time. That is, until they decide to cross McBean Parkway or Newhall Ranch Road to the Bridgeport Market Place, putting them in harm’s way and often leaving drivers slamming on the brakes.

Years ago, the city put up two yellow “geese crossing” signs on Newhall Ranch Road to warn people of the waddling animals.

“Like other signs, people ignore them,” Martin said.

In the eight years he’s lived in his home, Martin estimated he’d seen about a dozen geese and mallard ducks take fatal hits on the road.

“I’ve literally seen people just plow them over in the road,” he said. “It’s sad. Most people enjoy the ducks, but some people are impatient, nodding and honking,”

Brenda Varvarigos, executive director of Valley Wildlife Care in the San Fernando Valley, said it is difficult to keep the migratory birds from crossing a street if they believe food can be found on the other side.

A gated barrier to keep the birds from venturing onto the street might be a feasible solution, Varvarigos said.

“As long as there’s sufficient shelter and food source on one side (of the gate), they’re going to remain,” she said.  

The Martins feed the geese to keep them on their side of the road.

“If they’re here at the lake, they’re safe,” he said. “For geese, this is like their day spa. This is where they like to relax and raise their young.”

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