A family of geese grazes near Bridgeport Marketplace Lake in Valencia. Cory Rubin/The Signal

Guardians of the geese

A Bridgeport couple has uncovered some disheartening news for motorists who grind to a halt as they zip through Valencia, braking for a family of Canada geese, narrowly avoiding a collision with the large birds.        

One of at least four gaggles of Canada geese living at the Bridgeport Marketplace Lake, according to two of their unofficial guardians, Melissa and Martino Pepe, was reduced in size recently from two parents and five goslings, to four young ones and one surviving, limping parent.

A family of geese rests near Bridgeport Marketplace Lake in Valencia. Cory Rubin/The Signal

“They have a nest right at the lighthouse,” Melissa said, as she and Martino relaxed on a bench by the popular pond at the Valencia Marketplace.

On social media, there was a recent post by a concerned citizen, she said, asking: “Hey, has anybody been looking out for our geese?”

That would be Melissa and Martino Pepe.

“We watch that pair, and we watch them year after year,” Melissa said, noting that families of Canada geese frequently make the trek across eight busy lanes of Newhall Ranch Road.

“That goose lost its mate and a baby,” Melissa said, “and now has a limp.”

The Pepes have seen many chicks born in the spring, many near misses, and many near traffic collisions.

“Just last week, this guy was making a left turn when he stopped, jumped out and stopped all the traffic,” she said, recalling the most recent of the regular goose family rescues.

There are traffic signs posted at the intersection of Newhall Ranch Road and McBean Parkway, alerting motorists to be cautious about strolling geese.

But do motorists stop?

According to the Pepes, many do.

“You have to make a choice,” said Carmen Takemoto, who was visiting Bridgeport one recent afternoon from Canyon Country with her husband, Mark.

The choice being: hit the geese and avoid a traffic collision or brake suddenly, saving the geese but risking a rear-end collision and injury.

“I would stop,” Mark said.

A family of geese grazes near Bridgeport Marketplace Lake in Valencia. Cory Rubin/The Signal

“As human beings, we’re always in a rush,” Carmen said. “And, not able to appreciate things.

“This looks so beautiful,” she said, turning to face the Canada geese by the manmade lake at Bridgeport. “It’s so calm here.”

Canada geese are not the only critters enticed to live at Valencia’s crafted marshland, replete with reeds and ducks and turtles.

Jeff and Anna, of Canyon Country, made the crosstown trip to Bridgeport with a promise their kids could feed Cheerios to the ducks and geese.

“Things like this (feeding geese and ducks) do help getting them outside,” the couple said, choosing not to share their full name.

And, as for the largest animals at the pond — after human beings, of course — Jeff described the Canada geese as a fixture of the neighborhood.

“I think it adds to the charm of the area,” he said.

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On Twitter @jamesarthuholt

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