Get­ting Goosed

Moose Jaw - - News -

They seem to be every­where, and when they get to­gether it is a rau­cous and noisy gath­er­ing. Each mem­ber seem­ingly tries to be louder, row­dier and more vo­cal than their neigh­bour. They seem to feed off of each other’s ex­cite­ment and even­tu­ally, that ex­cite­ment re­sults in a mass ex­o­dus with one thing in mind. I am not talk­ing about teenagers, ri­ot­ers, bik­ers or even CFL foot­ball fans, I am talk­ing about Canada Geese.

When I say they seem to be every­where, I mean every­where, in­clud­ing right here in Liar­ton. They cre­ate some prob­lems, just like they do in ev­ery com­mu­nity. They seem to be fear­less! I have de­scribed some of their an­tics sim­i­lar to the gangs of the West­side Story, on the look­out for op­por­tu­ni­ties to ex­ert their will on the other gang, in this case hu­mans. If they could snap their fin­gers and use chore­og­ra­phy, they could pass for the Jets or the Sharks. Our lo­cal Canada geese, not “Cana­dian” geese, usu­ally ar­rive in the spring af­ter a 3-5000 km mi­gra­tion. They nest on the shores of Liars Lake, in­clud­ing the beach, park, golf course and in a few cases yards, ponds and even swim­ming pools. Nest­ing is over in a few weeks, but as soon as the eggs hatch the 7 to 9 yel­low goslings per nest im­me­di­ately head for the safety of wa­ter. Be­cause the goslings are mostly able to fend for them­selves, they be­gin to eat grasses and grains…and never stop. They pre­fer ten­der green grass shoots. That means yards, gar­dens, parks and any­where they can get to on the ground be­cause the goslings won’t be able to fly for many weeks. The in­abil­ity to fly in this stage of life does not mean they are help­less be­cause they form nurs­ery groups of up to a hun­dred goslings pro­tected and pa­trolled by fierce babysit­ting adult geese. Traf­fic along the lake is of­ten stopped by a gag­gle of geese and goslings cross­ing the road, com­plete with “cross­ing guards.” Though I do not speak goose, I know ex­actly what those su­per­vis­ing geese are say­ing. “Honk honk…do not even think about mov­ing un­til the kids are across…honk!”.

A smar­ty­pantsknow­itall­guy once mea­sured how much poop was pro­duced by a sin­gle Canada goose. He ar­rived at the dis­turb­ing amount of 127 pounds per year. That is the prob­lem with Liar­ton’s geese is. Liar­ton’s goose pop­u­la­tion is about 100, in­clud­ing all the new goslings. What do all ba­bies do? Eat, poop, sleep and grow, and that re­sults in about 6 or 7 tons of di­gested her­bi­vore diet. In the grand scheme of things goose poop is not harm­ful to hu­mans, has lit­tle odor and even though it seems to be a fa­vorite mid-walk snack for most dogs the worst thing about goose poop is that it is here, there and every­where. That is why our wise coun­cil tried to solve this univer­sal prob­lem by us­ing de­coys… coy­ote de­coys!

Believe it or not, there was a pe­riod of about a month where we had very few Canada geese on our beach. That thrilled the tourists and lo­cals. Af­ter a few weeks of dili­gent coy­ote de­coy re­lo­ca­tions, the wise geese re­al­ized that our de­coy-ote, was not a threat. When we saw the soon to fly goslings hap­pily eat­ing within a foot of our de­coy-ote, we knew the gig was up. The leaves are begin­ning to change colours and the goslings have been fly­ing and train­ing for a month or two. They are ready for their first mi­gra­tion south. I won­der if there was a way to have them stop by the White House in Wash­ing­ton and leave a part of those 127 pounds on “His” lawn.

Honk if you agree!

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