In case you missed it, the City of Denver has started to implement a plan to “roundup” members of the local goose population, killing them to be processed as food for those in need (specifically “charitable organizations and wildlife rehabilitation facilities”) as a means of goose population management. Typically, the Canada Goose is protected under the “Migratory Bird Act,” though Denver was able to sidestep this norm by gaining approval for their culling from both the state and federal governments.
July-time is typically “molting season” for Canada geese. During this time, the geese loose all of their flight feathers quickly compared to other species of birds, thus rendering them temporarily flightless.
According to an article by The Denverite, 5,000 geese flock to Denver in the summer months, with 100,000 flocking to the Front Range – each animal capable of dropping a pound of feces each day. Do the math – that’s a lot of goose poop.
On the official Denver website explaining this program, they list a few factors considered when making the decision of whether or not to “roundup” their geese, including: amount of goose droppings in parks, waterfowl species diversity, reducing impacts to park and golf landscapes, vegetative growth and recovery, and overall park habitat health.
As you might expect, the killing of the geese has sparked a controversy, with 100+ protesters showing up in Washington Park over the past weekend, according to the Denver Post. A Facebook group against the culling has also been formed, reaching close to 1,000 members in less than a month. An online petition has also been started related to the controversy, gaining 420 supporters of a 20,000 signature goal at time of this article’s publishing.
According to Westword, a similar program has been utilized in New York City, providing goose meat to local food banks.
The City of Denver will be working with the USDA to ensure that the goose meat is up to food standards.
The City of Denver website also lists a number of strategies that are under consideration that don’t involve killing geese, including limiting food sources in problem areas, utilizing barriers to make spots less desirable for grazing geese, and implementing hazing tactics, including noisemakers or “devices that move erratically” to deter geese.
The Canada goose can reach 25 pounds in size and can be identifiable by their dark black head and white chinstrap.
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