Richard Hyatt: Geese make home in parking lot

March 25, 2014 

One of the geese that has taken up residence in the Columbus Park Crossing parking lot, near the T.J. Maxx.

RICHARD HYATT — Special to the Ledger-Enquirer

She was hungry, but when she extended her graceful neck and couldn't reach the wad of bread Mrs. Maxx still would not leave her nest.

Three eggs are warming in a nest made of pine straw and leaves.

She and Mr. Maxx have set up housekeeping on a raised median in the parking lot of a strip mall where people shop and eat so privacy is out of the question. But to them it's home.

They haven't gone unnoticed.

Shoppers laughed at the sight of geese waddling up and down a sidewalk in front of nearby businesses and wondered what would happen if the two fowl figured out the doors to some of the stores were automatic.

"They haven't come inside yet," said Ginette Collins, an assistant manager at T.J. Maxx. But her coworkers have given them names.

They're known as Mr. and Mrs. Maxx -- a happy couple that has built their loving home in a busy area between a discount clothing store and a restaurant that features gourmet hamburgers.

"We've kinda adopted them," Collins said. "It's neat watching them. We've learned a lot."

While the attentive mother sits on her nest, her mate keeps a watchful eye on his brood, though Collins claims they've seen him keep the eggs warm while Mrs. Maxx takes a break.

This isn't the first time the Maxx family has come here to lay their eggs.

Workers at Columbus Park Crossing say the geese have made the area their home for several years.

This time they've turned up on social media sites, complete with photos.

Tending to a growing family in the middle of a paved parking lot could not be easy so we saved slices of bread from lunch on Sunday and delivered a snack to Mrs. Maxx. That's when we discovered she was a picky eater.

She appreciated the food we brought but was adamant that we had to put it in reach.

She wasn't going to move away from her eggs no matter how hungry she was.

Others were also concerned. Someone on Facebook mentioned a fence or a security person. Someone else suggested that Red Robin ought to bring the devoted mother some outdated burger buns at closing time.

When I stopped by Tuesday morning, two silver bowls had been put in reach of Mrs. Maxx, one with water and one with food.

She was obviously grateful.

They'll move on in a few weeks, confident their young can fly and survive. Their pending departure brings to mind an old rhyme.

"Old Mother Goose,

When she wanted to wander,

Would ride through the air

On a very fine gander."

-- Richard Hyatt is an independent correspondent. Reach him at hyatt31906@knology.net.

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