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WOODS ‘N’ WATER: Geese continue to leave a mess

WOODS ‘N’ WATER: Geese continue to leave a mess


Believe it or not, there was a time when you could not get within a hundred yards of a Canada goose if you were lucky enough to see one. Now you can consider yourself lucky if you do not step in a pile of goose poop in many parks in Meriden, especially Hubbard Park.

And it is not the fault of the Parks Department either. It is the humans that continually ignore the ban of feeding waterfowl at the parks and especially Hubbard Park.

The problem is really a double-edged sword. The Parks Department has put up signs in some of the worst feeding areas of the park warning folks not to feed them bread, yet on a daily basis I can see adults with kids in tow dolling out copious amounts of bread and many of the geese are even taking the bread right out of the hands of the humans feeding them.

Many folks get a kick out of what they are doing because they think that they are going one-on-one with wildlife. Nothing could be further from the truth. They have taken a once wonderful wild creature and turned into a domestic beggar.

First and foremost the bread is not healthy for the waterfowl to ingest. Another result of feeding waterfowl became quite evident a number of years ago at Hubbard park when some waterfowl turned up dead.

The hue and cry was “Someone is poisoning the ducks,” and they were very wrong—in a way. It seems that there was some kind of virus prevalent in some of the waterfowl and the humans that thought they were doing the right thing by feeding them only intensified the die-off.

We humans recently experienced a similar situation when we had the covid-19 pandemic. We were told to stay away from crowds, sanitize our hands and wear face masks. The waterfowl that were being fed by well-meaning humans did not have that option.

When being fed they gathered in tight-knit groups vying for some of the bread that was being offered and in doing so came in contact with some of the sick waterfowl and the disease was passed on.

Getting back to the Canada goose problem we now have flocks of them just about everywhere here in Connecticut. I have seen them on school sports fields including Platt and Wilcox and thankfully they do not like the artificial turf.

I find it hard to believe that so many folks do not find it as being unhealthy to their kids when they are using these sports fields to play on.

As I said earlier, there was time when you could not get within a hundred yards of a Canada goose but now if you are on a picnic in the park you have to fight them off as they go after your food.

Once known as wild Canada geese they are now referred to as “Resident geese” but also Nuisance geese and rightfully so. Long gone are the days when huge Vs of Canada geese could be seen and heard as they winged their way south for the winter and then back to the northern breeding grounds in the spring of the year. It truly was the call of the wild.

Of course climate change has had something to do with this change but it does not make it any better because the geese are outnumbering what was once considered to be natural habitat for them to eat.

Farms no longer dot the landscape with cut over hayfields and corn fields although there are still a couple around but not enough to keep the geese out of the parks, school yards, golf courses and other grassy complexes.

When you think about it, it all comes down to habitat being plentiful enough to support various species of wildlife. And as much as I hate to admit it you can also add the change to warmer winters to encouraging Canada geese to set up permanent residence here in Connecticut.

We now have a special September Canada goose season here in Connecticut that allows hunting them with a very generous bag limit of 15 birds per day.

Sounds good, right? But the glitch here is having a spot to hunt them. Our parks are out as are many of the domestic parcels of land that attract the flocks of geese on almost a daily basis. Some towns have taken to hazing the geese, and forcing them to find other spots to do their feeding and pooping on.

And oh, did you know that a single Canada goose has the ability to poop out a quart of goose feces a day?

Sooner or later, many folks who think it is really a good thing to have an overabundance of wildlife living close by will realize this is not good for both the wild critters and the human population.

As I mentioned earlier, we do have an early Canada goose season here in Connecticut that runs from Sept. 1st to Sept. 30th with a 15-goose per day bag limit.

But taking into consideration that spots to hunt them can be limited has hindered hunting them as a solution, but it is better than no solution at all.See ya’ and God Bless America and watch over our troops, police, firefighters and first responders wherever they may be serving this great country of ours.