An annual spring routine for the Amanat-Markazi family begins with a hissing goose.
For the past decade, a mother goose has made a nest on the family’s terrace near the intersection of Granville Street and West 7th Avenue in Vancouver each spring.
It is a nice place a nest till the goslings come around, at which point it becomes a glassed-in cage for the flightless baby waterfowl.
When Sarvenaz Amanat realized a nest on the terrace for the first time in 2011, she was concerned. She called a wildlife rescue organization for advice.
“They said, ‘You’re going to have to box up the little baby goslings, take them to the alley below and then wait for the parents to hear them and join you, and then take them to the closest body of water,'” Amanat recalls.
And so, each year, the family carefully packs up the babies before leading them and their parents on a half-kilometre trip through the city’s urban landscape.
“We learned how to sort of guide them,” Amanat says. “Take them through the alleys to Granville Loop Park, over 4th Avenue, down the street to Granville Island and enter right at the pond at kids market.”
Over the years, Amanat’s sons Bijan and Darius have grown quite skillful at goose-herding.
“The first time, it was scary,” Amanat says. “The geese get quite stressed … This time, they didn’t spread their wings. They don’t honk. They don’t squawk.”
“It really has become sort of a yearly routine, something we look forward to in the spring,” adds Darius Amanat-Markazi.
The family isn’t sure if it is the same mother goose who keeps coming back every other year, nor are they certain why she does so. But, every year, when she returns, the family knows what to do.
“We’re happy to help these geese and we care for them and we don’t want anything bad to happen to them,” Amanat says.