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!