LAKEWOOD – A Canada goose nest allegedly disturbed by an adult and children recently appears intact and undisturbed, a Lakewood Police official said.
An officer from the Division of Fish and Wildlife found a nest at the retention pond on Cedar Bridge Avenue in Lakewood that contained five eggs, Lakewood Capt. Gregory Staffordsmith told Jersey Shore Online Thursday. Four of the eggs were intact; a fifth egg appeared to have a slight crack, although it can’t be confirmed human disturbance caused that crack.
The caller, a woman who works near the pond, spoke to reporters from Townsquare Media, saying she “saw a group of boys (maybe 10 of them) screaming and clapping and walking towards a goose who was flapping his wings and honking.”
Despite their abundance and nuisance to communities, Canada geese are protected by state and federal laws. It’s illegal to handle, relocate or disturb nests and eggs without a federal permit, and even then, only allowable at certain times of the year.
Staffordsmith said an officer researched a mitzvah – a commandment – called Shiluach Haken, “sending of the nest.” Before this incident, the captain said he’d never heard of it, and the department had never received any calls about such an incident in town.
“If you find a nest and want to take the eggs or young birds, you first need to send away the mother and only then may you take the eggs or the young birds for yourself. This is the mitzvah known as shiluach haken (“sending of the nest”),” according to Chabad.org. “Note that this is one of only two acts for which we are promised the reward ‘that it should be good for you, and you should lengthen your days.’”
Staffordsmith wouldn’t speculate if that’s what was happening at the retention pond, or if this was simply a mother and children who were attempting to feed geese and had to shoo them away if they became too aggressive. The investigation is ongoing.
Staffordsmith said Lakewood Police are working with federal authorities on leads to identify the van and its driver. He said Lakewood Police received a tip that the van may have been seen in Howell recently, but the van was gone by the time police arrived.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Lakewood Police Sgt. Kenneth Burdge at 732-363-0200 or the Division of Fish and Wildlife at 609-292-2965.