An individual or group posted signs on West Nancy Creek Drive advising motorists to slow down and watch for crossing geese.
An individual or group posted signs on West Nancy Creek Drive advising motorists to slow down and watch for crossing geese.

“Mother Goose,” a beloved white waterfowl in Murphey Candler Park, was killed by a car last month, triggering action over speeding on West Nancy Creek Drive.

Rudy Fernandez, a board member of the Murphey Candler Park Conservancy and the local community association, said the goose had become a part of the neighborhood.

“My kids grew up with that goose,” Fernandez said. “It’s sort of the park mascot.”

In fact, the park’s annual fall fundraiser race is called the “Duck Duck Goose 5K” and uses a white goose or duck as a logo.
Fernandez said the goose had been since around the park since at least 1997. “We called her ‘Mother Goose’ because she would stand and protect the other geese,” Fernandez  said.

Brookhaven City Councilwoman Linley Jones, who held an Aug. 15 community meeting about wildlife protection and traffic in the park, said that the bird’s demise is inspiring the city to add traffic-calming devices on a road heavily used by park-goers, including many children in youth sports leagues.

“The recent death of the goose affectionately known by local residents as ‘Mother Goose,’ as well as other waterfowl and turtles, is a serious concern for all of us who care about preservation of urban wildlife,” Jones said in an email. “The fact that the death of the goose was caused by speeding traffic just reinforces this related concern.

“Since this incident, the city has taken action by posting wildlife crossing signs, planning for the installation of a new speed table on the dam and ordering permanent radar signs to be installed on West Nancy Creek Drive.”

After the July 13 death of Mother Goose and another bird, one resident dotted the road topping Murphey Candler Dam with about a dozen homemade “Stop for Geese Crossing” signs. Written in marker on fluorescent paper, they also reported “Two geese killed by motorist.”

The city allowed the signs to remain there for about a month.

Beth Kirk Fernandez, Rudy Fernandez’ wife, posted photos of the dead Mother Goose and a Canada goose on July 13 in a now-deleted Facebook entry. “We’ve lost our ‘Mother Goose.’ A red car just hit these two,” she wrote.

Rudy Fernandez said the local concern is greater about potential human victims.

“The real issue is speeding and cut-through traffic,” he said. “The fear is, kids are constantly crossing…We walk our dogs and almost get hit every day.”

Area streets have some traffic calming devices, including large humps known as speed tables and islands known as splitters. Fernandez said the speed tables are worn down and the splitters do little to slow traffic.

Besides road issues, there are ongoing concerns about wildlife health and the water quality in Murphey Candler Lake. The city recently installed other devices intended to protect wildlife, including fishing line recycling containers and signs warning people not to feed wild animals.

John Ruch

John Ruch is an Atlanta-based journalist. Previously, he was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.