WOODS ‘N’ WATER: Here’s the poop on solving a big problem

WOODS ‘N’ WATER: Here’s the poop on solving a big problem

Record-Journal

“My heart goes where the wild goose goes,” or something like that, sung by, I believe, Frankie Lane so many years ago.

Of course, back then there really were such things as wild geese.

Not anymore. Our citizenry has taken to hand-feeding what was once looked upon as beautiful creatures of the wild and turning them into domesticated beggars whose only talent is defiling home lawns, golf courses, school playgrounds, lawn areas at condominium complexes, athletic fields, parks, reservoirs and picnic areas with copious mounds of “Goose Grease” (a.k.a. goose poop).

Speaking of athletic fields, the other day I was driving past Platt High School and the athletic fields had over a couple hundred Canada geese ripping up whatever grass they could get, and they were all leaving generous amounts of goose poop for the kids at Platt to play in this spring.

Doesn’t anyone care about kids having to play on fields covered with goose crap?

I have lobbied locally to keep folks from feeding the Canada geese in our area — especially Hubbard Park! But, day after day, I ride by the area and there they are again, feeding the Canada geese alongside of a couple of domestic varieties.

I find it hard to believe that anyone would want to picnic in an area that stinks of goose poop — much less walk around on it — but they do!

Dog owners are required to pick up any poop that our pets leave on the ground when we take them for a walk. That being the case, why not have those misguided citizens who regard the Canada geese they feed at Hubbard Park as “pets” clean up the goose crap left by the flocks that are encouraged to stay in the area because of these feedings.

Better yet, let’s make it illegal to feed the geese and then ENFORCE IT!

Believe it or not, there was a time right here in Meriden when the sighting of a V of wild Canada geese would send shivers down your spine, their honking was so wild and plaintive. Of course, back then we even burned our leaves in the fall.

About the time I started to pen my outdoor column in the 80s, the term “nuisance geese” (a.k.a. “resident geese’) appeared. The state was aware of them, as were the federal authorities.

Some of the geese were live-netted and shipped to more northern spots. This proved to be expensive and time consuming. After a while, attempts to deal with the nuisance Canada goose problem appeared to be fruitless, so nothing else was done.

Now, I can appreciate some city folks being amazed that these wild critters have decided to call Connecticut home and, better yet, that they were able to feed the “poor, starving creatures,” and that made them feel really good.

However, if I had my way, ANYONE caught feeding nuisance geese would be made to spend ALL of their free time raking up and picking up any and all goose poop wherever it might be.

Hopefully, with the free bread and other handouts the geese receive almost on a daily basis taken away, the geese “might” (no guarantees) revert back to a more normal and wild life. Canada geese have survived for centuries without being fed by well-meaning humans.

Area towns and cities also have to share the burden of responsibility when it comes to halting the feeding of the nuisance geese. We cannot simply stand by and hope that the situation is going to go away.

First off, Meriden should make it illegal to feed Canada geese ANYWHERE in the city. The major offender is the nuisance geese at Mirror Lake in Hubbard Park. Those who feed geese bread need to be educated that the bread does waterfowl more harm than good. A couple of years ago, when we had that huge waterfowl die-off at Mirror Lake, it was found that the waterfowl died by coming in contact with diseased waterfowl while scrambling for the bread they were fed.

Signs telling people not to feed wildlife at the new Meriden Green seem to be working as far as the feeding goes, but there are some geese still landing there to feed on the grass. They should be chased/harassed until they take to the air for a getaway.

Biologists I talked to at DEEP were quite adamant in their belief that trying to educate towns and cities on getting rid of a nuisance Canada goose problem was akin to a waste of time. They would receive complaints from towns and were expected to come in and chase the geese away.

That is not the way it works. The towns have the right to handle the situation by using suggestions the DEEP offers. So far, the DEEP feels it might as well be talking to a blank wall.

Personally, I would like to think that those in charge of running our city are intelligent enough to understand the dangers of letting such a disgusting situation continue to exist. Action should be taken NOW! To sit back and discuss it for the next 14 City Council meetings would be ludicrous. Make it illegal to feed waterfowl within city limits by putting up signs easy enough to read and then ENFORCE IT!

If councilors think I am lying, take a ride up to Mirror Lake and park over by the “Duck House” where the water runs into Mirror Lake. Get out of your car and walk around. I dare you to accomplish this without stepping in goose crap.

Take a deep breath and note the smell. Now imagine what it must be like in the heat of the summer and picture yourself trying to have a picnic in such an area.

Put up signs in the infected areas like Hubbard Park, Baldwin Pond, and Beaver Pond. We already have them at The Meriden Green. 

Ignore the whining and crying over such a ban and take solace that, in the long run, you are doing the geese a bigger favor by making them wild again. And for those who will stamp their feet and roll around on the ground in a temper tantrum, have them do their rolling in places like school athletic fields and picnic areas that have been ruined by geese being fed by them.

When spring begins and young grass starts to sprout, flocks of the nuisance geese will poop all over the entire park area as well as the school grounds. It is time for this to come to an end.

I’m not alone. I loved the headline in the R-J on Feb. 5 on page A8: “Billionaire takes aim on geese poop.” He is refusing to pay his taxes because of the goose poop.

Don’t go away, I’ll have more on this smelly, unhealthy, problem next week. See ya, God bless America and watch over our troops wherever they may be.


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