Every time your idyllic walk around the lake or your perfect golf putt is interrupted by a gift from one of our 3.5 million non-migrating geese, do you wonder why they don’t hit the road for Florida or Canada in the fall?
Well I’ve got news for you. Despite the common belief that these geese just got used to the posh suburban life, they actually never migrate! According to wildlife scientists, these “resident” geese are descendants of farmed geese and tens of thousands of live “decoys” once used by professional hunters.
The Fish and Wildlife Service calls them “hybrids. . . originating in captivity and artificially introduced” around the country. These geese are a non-native species, like feral cats, thriving in the comforts of suburbia and the object of a love/hate relationship. The typical goose weights 10 to 16 pounds and lives about 12 years. Each goose defecates five or six times per hour, depositing one to two pounds of feces daily.
While their relatives, the once-endangered migrating Canadian geese, continue to pass through on their annual vacation, the “resident Canadians” continue to thrive year round in suburbia, leaving their soft gray callings cards on lawns, greens, paths, and in our ponds. These “residents” now outnumber the native migrating birds in the Atlantic flyway and their number are increasing at 14% per year.
Stay tuned as colleges, golf courses, airports, municipalities, water supplies, cemeteries, and other locations spend millions each year to keep the geese out of people’s way.