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A Valencia goose chase

Posted: May 10, 2012 4:30 a.m.
Updated: May 10, 2012 4:30 a.m.

A family of geese cross the road in Bridgeport.

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It’s a sight familiar to many drivers who have spent a spring or two in the Santa Clarita Valley: waterfowl disrupting traffic and endangering themselves crossing major thoroughfares in the Bridgeport area.

Two water features and plenty of grass on each side of Newhall Ranch Road at McBean Parkway draw Canada geese, mallards and coots back and forth across the busy throughway. City officials ask motorists to slow down and be cautious in the area.

At least two families of Canada geese have been leading their goslings across Bridgeport-area roads in their quests for — well, whatever’s on the other side — since the babies were hatched about three weeks ago.
Some of the goslings have already disappeared — likely the victims of cars or predators, according to some Bridgeport residents.

Many of the geese nest in the area each year, said Tom Tomlinson, a Bridgeport resident for several years and member of the homeowners association.

The same geese return year after year, Tomlinson said. The goslings normally start crossing the busier streets — McBean and Newhall Ranch Road — when they are about a month old.

On a recent Wednesday morning, a healthy adult goose, its mate — which appeared to have a broken leg — and their four goslings crossed Bridgeport Lane 10 times in 20 minutes.

While the street was quiet at the time and cars waited for the birds to cross, that isn’t always the case, Tomlinson said.

One couple walking their daughter home from school on a Friday afternoon said they’ve seen a number of coots — a small water bird that some say destroys lawns — run over by cars.

“The (people) who live around here stop,” said Apple Levy, of Bridgeport.

But not everyone knows to watch out for the web-footed springtime pedestrians, she said.

“They definitely need more signs (on Bridgeport Lane),” she said.

Jill Dayton, another Bridgeport resident, says she’s never seen anyone hit any of the geese crossing the road.

“They cross the road, but everyone is really sweet and respectful,” Dayton said. “I walk every day, and I’ve never seen any of the adults or babies get hit.”

Santa Clarita officials are aware of the situation and have a sign posted on McBean to warn residents of the geese crossing the busy street, said city spokeswoman Gail Ortiz.

She added that residents should use caution when driving near Bridgeport this time of year.

“With spring, come the baby geese,” she said, “and they don’t always use the crosswalk.”

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