Thursday, June 23, 2011

Relocating geese: Honk if you like happy endings



The City of Calgary’s program to remove non-migratory geese from known trouble spots in city parks and relocate them in the wild has come to a successful close for another summer.


Once removed from Prince’s Island and Bowness Park, goslings are cared for by a licensed expert until they are old enough to survive on their own. The geese are then released into rural wetland areas in central Alberta, where the young birds join migratory flocks (as can be seen in the accompanying video).
A family of geese easily adopt four new members


Sid Andrews, educator coordinator with The City of Calgary Parks, explains that it is natural for young geese to join new flocks. “This is common behaviour in the wild; it’s called creching.” 


Too many geese in public areas have been known to cause issues in urban areas (geese have ‘personal space’ requirements too). Problems include being aggressive, chasing or pecking at people, including seniors or children. 


Too many geese in a confined area lead to a big problem with excrement, providing an unpleasant ‘minefield’ for park and pathway users and festival-goers to navigate. As well, large non-migratory goose populations are at risk of contracting disease, which can then be passed along to the larger bird population. 


“The City of Calgary’s approach is a much more humane way to deal with too many geese and too many people in close proximity,” adds James Borrow, Parks’ Integrated Pest Management lead. “Some cities and property owners across North America simply euthanize geese when they become too numerous.”

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