If you're in downtown Edmonton over the next couple of days, keep an eye out for a little family of geese on the move.
Last month, Oliver resident Ben Lavin was forced to hand over possession of his balcony to a brooding mother goose who he named Lucy, who selected his tomato planter as the perfect place to lay her five eggs.
Lavin, a systems analyst at the University of Alberta, was quick to set up a webcam to keep an eye on the little family, and to be able to help transport the goslings to safety when they were ready to move on.
But when the moment came Monday morning, the day-old goslings took Lavin by surprise.
"Once Lucy … jumped off the nest, within a matter of 30, 40 seconds, all of the little goslings had also jumped off and followed her," Lavin said.
"I just caught the last of them jumping out of the nest first thing in the morning."
The goslings' quick departure was especially surprising given that Lavin lives on the 10th floor — and they jumped all the way to the roof of the parkade where their parents were waiting, 9 floors below.
According to Lavin, goslings don't learn how to fly until they are least two or three months old.
"So it was more of a drop slash glide down to the bottom," Lavin said.
Four of the goslings landed just fine and toddled off to meet their mother. A fifth wasn't so lucky, taking what Lavin said was a harder tumble than its siblings.
Lavin called the Wildlife Rehabilitation Society, which has been coaching him through the past month, right away. Together, the group tried to corral the geese family off of the parkade safely, but gave up when their efforts seemed to be causing the two adult geese stress.
Nevertheless, the geese made it safely out of the building on their own steam, and "were last seen heading east just looking for other food and water sources," Lavin said.
As he watched them go, Lavin could see other pedestrians stopping and staring at the little family, and others even step in to help them cross the street safely.
"I have no doubt that as they make their way, people will notice them and stop their cars and let them go wherever they want to go."
The goodbye may not be forever, though. He's been told that geese often return to the same nesting place year after year.
"So I wouldn't be surprised if around April next year I do see a couple of geese flying around on my balcony"
But one thing's for sure: he'll be keeping his tomato planter covered from now on.