Spring was still in the air for one Canada goose that remained in Winnipeg to tend to a nest of eggs, while her pals were flying south. —
It could be the latest egg-laying on record for a goose in Canada.
Provincial Game Bird Manager Frank Baldwin and a biologist with Canadian Wildlife Service were alerted to the nest located near Route 90, last weekend. The two were surprised when they discovered the adult female, along with a nest of five intact eggs. He said the birds usually nest in April and early May.
"This really caught our attention because it's you know four to five months sort of out of sync with when these birds are normally nesting," said Baldwin.
Baldwin said typically the bulk of Canada geese will begin their migration by mid November. He said due to weather, the decision was made to obtain a permit from the federal government to remove the eggs in an effort to encourage the bird to migrate.
"We thought that the chances of those eggs actually being viable was very low," said Baldwin. "With the weather and the storm that was forecast, we thought there was a good chance that she might get stuck here if she had an intact nest bowl."
Baldwin said after further investigation one egg had an embryo and would have hatched. After speaking with experts he said it appears that the discovery is unprecedented.
"It's just really an uncommon thing to have a winter, a December goose nest," said Baldwin. "It's so uncommon that we've done some reviews in the literature, spoken to biologists across the United States and we can't find any published account of nesting Canada geese beyond September."
He said there's no way to know for certain what caused this rare occurrence, but points to the unusual weather during the fall as a possible factor.
"We did have some interesting things going on with the warmest November on record in about 144 years of record keeping," said Baldwin. "We had some days that were incredibly warm."
Baldwin said he along with the biologist from the Canadian Wildlife Service are planning to submit an article to a peer reviewed journal some time early next year.
"We're interested in getting this information out there," he said.