Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Sports columns

July 8, 2012

Don’t feed the geese

— Nothing goes toge-ther better than summertime and parks. Unfort-unately it can also signal the time for the annual “people-versus-geese” standoff.

Last week, I listened intently as a young lady, who is a frequent walker in our city parks, voiced her concern over the large number of geese and the unsightly “jewels” they leave behind.

“I wish they would just go away,” she said.

Then, just a short distance away, another lady and two children stood feeding stale bread to a large group of birds.

Canada geese are a valuable natural resource, providing recreation to bird watchers, hunters and the general public. The beautiful “V” formation of migrating birds soaring high overhead is a sure sign of changing seasons. But in recent years, large flocks of resident geese have become year round inhabitants of our parks, golf courses and residential areas.

As a child growing up right here in Kokomo, Canada geese were seldom seen. But over the past several decades they have become an all-too-common occurrence. Once reduced through unregulated hunting and habitat loss, these birds have made a remarkable rebound, to the point where they have in some cases become problematic. This is especially true of resident birds that remain in our urban areas year round. But don’t blame the birds. We helped create it!

Kokomo is no different than other cities across the United States. Parks and similar places provide the perfect setting for these raucous waterfowl, especially when constructed near adjacent waterways and lush, green open areas. Short grass with water nearby is a goose bonanza. But the problem isn’t the parks, it’s people. Well-meaning individuals feed geese because they believe it is the right thing to do. Unfortunately it isn’t. Free handouts guarantee the birds will stay.

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