Mother goose and goslings stop LIE traffic

A goose and its goslings are seen crossing
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A goose and its goslings are seen crossing the eastbound lanes of the LIE near Exit 48 in Plainview and stopping at the divider at about 9:14 a.m. on Monday, May 12, 2014.(Credit: James Carbone)

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Long Island Expressway traffic came to a brief halt Monday morning to allow a team of local and city officers to rescue of a group of feathered jaywalkers.

Two off-duty city officers spotted a mother goose ushering her brood of four across the eastbound roadway, making it as far as the HOV lane, said Glen Ritchie, Suffolk County highway patrol officer.

The city officers "stopped and used their car to block the HOV lane," said Ritchie, who later pulled up on the westbound lane.

For about 15 minutes the HOV lane near Exit 48 in Plainview was closed as Nassau highway patrol and the city officers worked to get the goslings, who were next to the divider barrier, into a cardboard box, a Nassau police spokeswoman said.

The box came courtesy of a nearby P.C. Richard, said Ritchie, who had gone off in search of a makeshift gosling carrier.

The mother goose hissed and refused to be put into the box, opting instead to fly up over it.

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Ritchie said that though "she wasn't too happy," she was uninjured.

All eastbound traffic was closed for about five minutes as the box was dragged to the shoulder of the road to be picked up by animal control, the spokeswoman said.

Staff from the Town of Oyster Bay's GeesePeace program were called in, and the goslings "were released back into their natural habitat" and "in close proximity" to where they were found, said town spokesman Brian Devine.

A worker remained to see if a parent might return to care for the babies.

An adult goose did arrive, and the worker felt "comfortable they were back in safe hands," Devine said.

While attempting to cross the LIE could be seen as reckless parenting, the Island "is crisscrossed with roads, and geese don't know a road is bad; they just want to get past it" as they search for food for their new offspring, said Jim Jones, board member of Volunteers for Wildlife, a rescue, rehabilitation and education center in Lattingtown, which was not involved with the rescue.

"Animals make mistakes, just like people," he said.

With James Carbone

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