NANFA-- more on geese - Liz's input
Sun, 20 Apr 2003 20:27:23 EDT

Why geese are a problem....

1. No, they don't digest their food (plants) very well. Plants are
generally difficult to digest, so animals that eat them, from caterpillars
to cows, have to either have a long digestive tract and keep reprocessing
the plant food to get the nutrition out of it, which requires a large body
size (a problem for birds), or they have to eat (and pass through) a great
deal of food, wasting most of it (but this is not a problem for the animal
if there is plenty around). Geese do the second one, so they poop an awful

2. Geese like aquatic plants. If there are a lot of geese they will
destroy the aquatic vegetation, especially the stuff other animals need to
survive. People restoring wetlands in the Midwest have to put all kinds
of wires and strings and barriers up or they can't get plants started
before the geese devastate them.

3. There are too many geese, and they don't all migrate like they
should. This is often due to us creating more goose habitat - providing a
year-round supply of green grass and open water, especially at parks and
developments which have vast lawns, and they dug drainage ponds so they
could build there. Formerly, in winter these places either had no open
water, or it froze over, and the vegetation went brown in winter, so the
geese left and took the pressure off the area a bit, or at least there
weren't hundreds and hundreds of them.

I used to live near a research lab where there was a large number of geese
very tame. A visiting scientist from another country (I don't remember
where) was pleasantly surprised at all these edible animals just walking
around, and he captured a goose, took it home, and had it for
dinner. There was a huge uproar at the lab over this, and they sent
notices around to everyone not to harm the geese. Even though nearly every
pair was fledging a full nest of goslings and you could probably have
removed half of the birds before it would have made any dent in their
numbers the next year.

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