Thursday, June 17, 2010

please don't kill the geese

Dandelions, mosquitoes and geese, oh my!

What do these three things have in common? It's not a stumper-- they're all valuable things that occur naturally in the environment that people want to eliminate purely for reasons of convenience and aesthetics.

More about dandelions and mosquitoes later-- this post is about geese, and why I feel they should not be driven from the city or physically harmed. Check out this article by my fellow Free Press intern Britt Harvey about how geese are apparently the new scourge of residential retention ponds and golf courses.

The city is looking into how to humanely control the goose population in the city. Harming or killing the birds, a federally protected species, is not currently an option.

Population control is sometimes necessary when a species becomes overpopulated due to lack of predators, etc, and starts to wreak havoc on an ecosystem. But as far as I can tell, the reason people want these birds gone has to do with poop in the grass when they walk their dogs.

Give me a break. God forbid your outdoor experience isn't completely antiseptic.

Now a machine that squirts water at geese to annoy them and make them go away is one thing (and pretty funny, actually) but this is something else entirely:

"Refraining from harming the birds is of the upmost importance, said Poulin, noting Winnipeggers have contacted him to see if they could shake the eggs or damage the nest."

Really? Just imagine a disgruntled homeowner skulking through the dewey grass of a residential retention pond to kill a batch of unborn goose babies. I truly hope this does not actually happen. Anyway, good luck because the goose parents will peck you, and rightly so.

Why do we need to get rid of geese in the city? Wildlife in an urban environment is a treasure to be enjoyed. Plus they only pass through a couple times a year. I live near a retention pond and one of my favourite activities this past month has been to go feed and visit the three growing goose families living at the pond. Baby geese are the CUTEST THINGS EVER! Sure my shoes are a bit mucky after. I wipe them on the sidewalk. Big deal.

Lastly, we all need to remember the geese are not in fact encroaching on our territory-- we are in theirs. The sense of entitlement some people have about what 'belongs' in their urban environments baffles me. I bet you the geese aren't particularly pleased at all these buildings and cars we've put in their nesting grounds, either.

In a time when suffering, dying, oil-soaked birds and other creatures are regulars on the news, I take huge comfort and joy in the health and happiness of our local feathered friends.


  1. I saved that little gosling's life in the first picture.