A wild goose chase
They may be cute and fuzzy as babies, but Denver’s resident goose population has grown into a big, honking problem. Like many cities, the state capital is grappling with how to deal with the large waterfowl’s booming numbers. Across the state, goose populations have soared since the ’70s – multiplying sixfold in some places, according to a story in the Denver Post.
It’s estimated as many as 5,000 geese live year-round in the Mile-High City, living fat on manicured bluegrass, organic bread crumbs, plentiful lakes and few predators. Many thousands more drop in during their annual migration.
But speaking of droppings, all this goosing around isn’t pretty. Canadian geese can produce up to a pound of poop a day, which in turn causes algae blooms and a crapload of complaints.
Now, Denver officials are no longer stepping around the issue. This week, Denver Parks staff and USDA officials began rounding up 2,200 geese in an effort to cull the urban flock. The plan is to “humanely” put down the birds and feed them (adult Canada geese can grow to over 10 pounds) to families in need.
Of course, this plan has ruffled feathers of Animal rights advocates who say the killings are cruel and unnecessary, especially at a time when birds are molting and unable to fly. “It’s like a morgue. It’s empty,” one Denver resident told the Post after a goose round-up at City Park this week. “There were all these little families of geese walking through the park. They rounded up all of those, and they killed them.”
Denver Deputy Parks Director Scott Gilmore said the City was left with few viable options. Over the years, it has been on a wild goose chase of its own, resorting to everything from remote-controlled “Goosinators” to scare the birds away to rubbing oil on eggs to thwart hatching. The city has even gone so far as to relocate birds to other cities and counties – but now, no one wants them. And meanwhile, the flock grows.
“We’re not trying to get rid of all the geese in the city. We’re just trying to manage to a more healthy population,” Gilmore told the Post.
The operations are taking part in early-morn- ing hours and targeting resident birds, not mi- gratory ones. A few dozen birds will be left at each spot to discourage others from moving in.
Ironically, Canada geese were almost wiped out by white settlers in Colorado until being re- introduced in the 1950s.
Denver is not the first city to kill its golden goose. New York City, Washington, D.C., and Madison, Wisc., have all undergone “goose man- agement” projects.
No word on whether Donald Trump will try to put tariffs on this Canadian import, too.