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.