Out along the Maumee River at Side Cut Metropark there is no shortage of Canada geese (Branta canadensis, Anatidae). Most of these large birds migrate north in the summer to breed and migrate south in the winter for survival, but they’re present in the northern United States year-round.
Although these are some of the most common and well-known birds in North America, I still like to pause and watch them. Because they’re so common it’s easy to find a flock, sit down, and be entranced by their behavior. It’s kind of endearing to watch a family unit swim about with the goslings following their parents around like obedient children.
In recent years Canada geese have been increasingly regarded as pests. Golf courses, suburban developments, and municipal parks are often designed to be filled with man-made ponds and large lawns of lush, well-watered, and well-fertilized short grasses that appeal to human aesthetics. These features also appeal to geese, and they’re often attracted in large numbers. According to National Geographic, just fifty of these birds can produce two and a half tons of excrement in a year. Humans that frequent golf courses, suburban developments, and municipal parks tend to dislike that. Many times the birds are killed to appease residents.
Here’s another crazy idea: If you don’t want to attract geese, don’t build ideal habitats for them.