Greg Cohoon (drmellow) wrote,
Greg Cohoon

More gripes on the Canada goose

I've had more time to read the Canada goose link I mentioned earlier, and am struck by the following paragraph:

A more serious threat posed by the thriving Canada goose population is interference with ground and air travel. Goose and gosling crossings on major roads can create back-ups and fender-benders, as many drivers swerve or stop suddenly to hitting them. Canada geese have been particularly problematic for airliners, because a goose sucked into an engine can cause considerable damage and put crew and passenger lives at risk. Finally, the Canada geese's droppings pose various health and physical hazards to humans. Goose manure is very slick and can contribute to broken ankles and other serious injuries if stepped on. But it also breeds the bacterium E. Coli, which promotes flulike symptoms in humans.

That's exactly what I was complaining about earlier, but with prettier and more logical-sounding words. The article goes on to point out behavior I've noticed with my local geese as well -- namely, their lack of fear:

The Canada geese have so adapted to their new sedentary existences, they have learned to ignore the various means employed to shoo them away. Apparently, these geese will barely ruffle a feather when shots are fired or when scarecrows and flags are displayed in their view....

I have run up to Canada geese in my backyard before, in an attempt to scare them away, and they'll often just stand their ground and hiss at me. Sometimes, they nip at my feet. I am constantly amazed at their boldness. Part of this, I attribute to the fact that several of my neighbors like to feed the geese. I'm sure this only makes the geese more complacent and less prone to be frightened. Some of my neighbors even feed the geese in the parking lot, which really annoys me! The last thing I want is a gaggle of Canada geese deciding that the parking lot is their dining room. It's bad enough that people are feeding them, but to feed them in the parking lot -- that's just inexcusible!

How are people trying to deal with the problem of annoying geese? Well, the government is beginning to relax their laws related to the hunting of migratory birds and allow for limited hunting (in part because the Canada geese are no longer migrating). But people who kill Canada geese without permission are still charged and prosecuted as felons. As for other ways of dealing with the Canada goose problem, the article mentiones several options besides hunting:

The hunts have predictably drawn criticism from bird-lovers, who believe that the costs to agriculture, recreation and other trades do not warrant such extreme measures. Thus new methods have been experimented with to simply chase the geese away from private and commercial areas. For instance, some people have invested in grape Kool-Aid powder to sprinkle on lawns; the geese have a digestive aversion methyl anthranilate, a natural compound found in grapes that causing a burning sensation in their stomachs. Border collies have also been employed to shepherd Canada geese on public spaces onto trailers for transport to wildlife refuges.

I would love to see some border collies herding Canada geese! I bet that would be a hoot to watch.


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