Winter is back and so are the geese. Every year in late fall, flocks of Canada geese descend on the Front Range and take up residence on local parks …
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Winter is back and so are the geese.
Every year in late fall, flocks of Canada geese descend on the
Front Range and take up residence on local parks and golf courses.
These migrators can travel more than 3,000 miles from colder climes
to spend the winter here.
Flocks by the hundreds can be seen in many open grassy areas,
including in Littleton’s Ketring Park.
According to Skot Latona, supervisor of Park Interpretation at
South Platte Park and Carson Nature Center, that’s because
Littleton’s numerous parks and open spaces with low-growing
vegetation and open water are perfect habitat for the geese.
“Geese have a few habitat requirements that are perfectly
aligned with what humans value in a city,” Latona wrote in an
e-mail. “All of these can be found in great abundance in our parks
and open spaces.”
Although there are some year-round denizens, they are a fraction
of the winter numbers. Latona estimates that resident goose
populations make up about 5 percent to 10 percent of the number in
South Platte Park.
“There are more (geese) than there have been for several decades
due to successful management of threatened populations and the
artificially high levels of goose-friendly, predator-free urban
habitat,” Latona said.
With so many geese living in an urban environment, local
officials have taken steps to minimize the damage the birds cause
to golf courses and parks.
Jim Priddy, manager of parks and open space for the South
Suburban Parks and Recreation District, says the geese are a
nuisance. They tear up the greens and people complain about them,
South Suburban has a permit from the Colorado Department of
Wildlife to oil goose eggs in the spring to keep them from
hatching. Hazing is another tactic the district employs.
“In the parks we use little starter pistols to scare them off,”
said Dan Scheuerman, head park ranger at SSPRD. “The noise harasses
them. The problem is in the wintertime Denver is a little grocery
store to these birds.”
For the city of Littleton, it isn’t the birds themselves that
are the problem. It’s their droppings.
Littleton Landscape Division Manager David Flaig says the city
applies an expensive grape juice-based repellant along walkways
near city buildings, like the city center and Bemis Library, to
keep the birds off pedestrian areas.
“In our case we can more than justify the expense because we
would spend hours every week cleaning off sidewalks,” Flaig said.
“We’ve created a perfect habitat for them. We’ve got irrigated
bluegrass covering our town.”
Although considered a nuisance by some, getting rid of the geese
isn’t really an option.
“Canada geese are protected wildlife and the strong leaning in
Littleton so far has been for educational efforts and a desire to
learn to live with wildlife rather than eradicate them,” Latona
Keeping geese away
Written permission from the Colorado Department of Wildlife is
needed before you can tamper with eggs or nests. But the DOW
recommends other things you can do.
Don’t feed the geese
Make landscape modifications to your yard. Geese don’t like
barriers such as shrubs or trees between feeding areas and open
A permit is not required to scare, repel, or herd geese to
protect your property, as long as the birds are not killed or
harmed. Hazing them with loud noises, chasing them or putting up
scarecrows are all allowed.
According to the DOW, if you want to discourage Canada geese
from making a home on your property, act quickly, be persistent and
use more than one hazing method.
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