Thursday, March 16, 2006

The Invasion of the Goose Gangs


Yesterday I posted that wonderful poem by Mary Oliver called "Wild Geese". Lest you think am all sweetness and light about any old bird that crosses my path, let alone any old goose, I offer today's entry.

Canadian Geese make me laugh. I am not fond of them at all, but I sure do admire their pluck. About 30 years ago, they were almost extinct, so all kinds of protections were put in place. They are now about to run over certain areas, with hundreds of these big bruisers invading a populated pond area and dropping huge cigar sized droppings, honking loudly on serene summer afternoons, and chasing anyone away that comes within too close a distance to their nests or their young.

My little east coast town has a park with a small man-made pond in it. And a Canadian Goose invasion. These big, honking waddlers forage and swim all day long, covering whole sections of the park at a time while 100 or more of them dine on lawn-food. These geese are quite turf protective and they have been seen to take menacing runs at small children and small animals who cross that invisible turf border. This prevents people from using that part of the park, and when the geese vacate, and the people do use the area -- well, see above comment about droppings.

Canadian Geese are now in the same category as deer - they have few natural predators left, and they have diminishing natural wetlands to inhabit. And it seems the latest trend among Canadian Geese is to not migrate. They are pretty methodical birds, so even those that do migrate come back to the very same pond year after year.

So..my town decided to "think outside the box" and they put a stuffed or resin (not sure which) coyote on a raft and floated it on the pond. I'm not kidding. A fake floating coyote. This is its real picture.

I almost drove up onto the sidewalk when I first saw it. They erected silhouettes of coyotes around the pond. They floated beachballs on the pond. They floated resin dead Canadian geese on the pond.

In essence, they completely messed up the look of the pond. And this was a deterrent. For a few weeks.

Then, bingo, back came the geese.

Geese may be slow and mean, but they are not stupid.

In fact, the returning geese had a smug lilt to their beaks as they swam in lazy, untroubled circles around the Phoney Coyote. And this time they brought friends. What once had been a merely irritating flock of 50 had grown to an arrogant 100 birds with bad looks. They had the town by the short hairs and they knew it. If they had been wearing t-shirts they would have had packs of Lucky Strikes rolled up in the sleeves. If they drove motorcycles they would have Harley's.

The latest I heard was that my town had contacted or had been contacted by GeesePeace (I kid you not) an organization that helps towns get rid of geese that they are not allowed to kill.

As I watch this little town spend what must be a small fortune on whether or not one of its several parks has geese in it, I wonder how many people in town are going hungry tonight. And how many would love a roast goose dinner.

7 Comments:

Blogger samtzmom said...

I am snorting with laughter at the coyote photo! We also have pretty parks which are overrun by the Canada Geese, but sounds like your town is smartly trying to let them know they've outworn their welcome. It will be interesting to see what happens.

8:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my! It is good to know that other communities are making attempt to control the geese population without harm. I love the C. geese, but I also know what a problem they can be. I live in geese-country.

About 6-8 months ago, our city was over-geesed. They would fly into areas of choice and settle in huge flocks. It was not uncommon for me to look outside and count 50-60 geese resting on the lawn. No matter where one would drive in this city, geese would be resting on lawns or floating on lakes in huge numbers.

Suddenly, about 3-4 months ago, they simply disappeared from sight. I was so concerned that I called the city. I asked if they had been culled and was told that they had not been. The man I spoke with was vague and would not give any more information than what I specifically asked for.

My question is: How does a city round up hundreds upon hundreds of huge birds and get rid of them? Where are they?

Religionfree

1:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great article. Thank you for writing it ..too bad the "fake floating coyote" didn't do the trick...we have about 18 or so on a daily basis on our pond in Carlisle (Mass) and since they are getting aggressive towards anyone getting too close to them (we have very young children), we are looking for a "peaceful" solution in getting rid of them...if you do come across a tactic that works, please do share it...
Thanks again, MJTC

9:03 PM  
Blogger Mata H said...

MJTC

Try contacting geesepeace.org for suggestions. They seem helpful.

11:02 PM  
Blogger Kat Ballentine said...

I find this all very familiar. We live on a six acre pond in the woods in Virginia near a coastal flyway. What started as a few geese expanded in the course of two weeks to about 500 sleep-deprived geese. We have had extremely windy conditions today, so most of the CG have departed for shallower waters. But, they will return. I am very concerned about our pond water quality. Will the pond turtles or fish in the pond eat the massive amounts of goose droppings or is my pond being converted into a goosepool?

5:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can get rid of geese from your property by using a simple laser pointer. a green one works much better than a red one, for some reason. but both work great. just chase them around the lake for a few nights and they won't come back.
only took me 7 years to figure it out.

11:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can get rid of geese from your property by using a simple laser pointer. a green one works much better than a red one, for some reason. but both work great. just chase them around the lake for a few nights and they won't come back.
only took me 7 years to figure it out.

11:23 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Site Feed