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A Mother's Day Goose Tale

Office employees in Reston have fun caring for nesting goose.

In real estate, they say it’s all about location, location, location.

About a month ago, when an expecting mother goose arrived at the top of a parking garage, found a narrow stretch of elevated vegetation and decided that’s where she would deliver her babies, it would seem she got it wrong on all three accounts.

“I thought, that’s going to be a weird place to have a nest,” said Sam Walker, an employee at 1800 Alexander Bell Drive who was one of the first to discover the nesting Canada goose from his office window.

The nest location backed to three parking spaces. It faced a 30-foot drop-off and it lacked any nearby natural food or water sources.

But, with help from Walker and several other employees keeping an eye on the goose, it wasn’t long before the nest’s real estate value shot up.

LIKE A TEAM of midwives, the group of concerned employees tried to anticipate all the goose’s needs.

“First, they put cones up [on the three adjacent parking spaces] so nobody would bother her,” said Leslie Harman, whose office is next to Walker’s.

At some point, the group decided to name the mother goose and the rarely-seen father goose. “We named them Carl and Carla,” said Alece Demstock, another co-worker.

As more and more office breaks took place in Walker’s office, the employees expanded their oversight duties, figuring the goose might be hungry and thirsty.

Very carefully, a few of the workers went down to the parking garage and nudged a bowl of water toward the nest using a hockey stick, said Dee Porter, another employee at the office building that overlooked the nest.

“And then comes Cesar, who just hand fed the goose,” said Harman. “It was just funny because everyone else was so cautious.”

Cesar Alfaro, a maintenance worker at the office building, became the waterfowl’s surrogate father.

“I call her little bonita,” said Alfaro, who provided the goose with food, mostly cracked corn.

Alfaro’s efforts didn’t go unnoticed by other employees. “You’ve been the best godfather ever,” Jim Gander told Alfaro recently. Gander, a co-worker who has also enjoyed watching the goose, has heard his fair share of goose jokes this past month.

“What’s good for the goose is good for the,” said Harman, trailing off.

The goose and her nest have been the source of more, albeit unnecessary, joke “fodder,” according to Gander, who’s been a good sport.

WATCHING THE GOOSE has boosted morale throughout the building, said Walker, admitting that his office has been a bit more social lately, but sometimes startling.

Last week, Monday, May 8, Walker jumped from his chair when Demstock came flying into his office. “The babies are here! The babies are here,” rejoiced Demstock.

Over the weekend, the goose gave birth to five goslings, just in time to celebrate Mother’s Day.

Watching the goose may become an annual tradition for the group of office employees, since Canada geese typically return to the same nesting and birth sites every year, according Canada Goose Management.