Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 7

C Canada Geese: Taking Over?

Creature
Feature

Strolling along the Tennessee
Riverwalk in Chattanooga, Tenn., a
family of four pauses to check out
the wildlife at Amnicola Marsh.
"Look, a seagull!" the little girl
exclaims, pointing to a Canada
goose in mid-air.
"Honey, that's not a seagull," her
dad corrects. "I think it's a duck."
Many Blue Ridge residents seem
to be baffled by Canada geese. Why
have the birds invaded local ponds
and ball fields? Why don't they
migrate in winter? And why are their
populations growing?
"They do very well in urban and
suburban areas, so they're able to
reproduce," says Lynsey White
Dasher, director of humane wildlife
conflict resolution for The Humane
Society of the United States. "But at
the same time, habitat loss due to
development has pushed them into
more concentrated flocks in areas
like parks and golf courses. Their
favorite habitat is a nice large
expanse of mowed, fertilized grass
with open sight lines, and near the
water, so that they can make sure
that no predators are coming. And in
urban areas, there are not a lot of
predators."
Once on the decline due to hunting, in the 1960s these monogamous birds with the black caps and

COURTESY OF ISTOCKPHOTO.COM

Nancy Henderson

Canada geese love a large expanse of mowed, fertilized grass near the water.

white chinstraps were bred in captivity, their wings clipped to keep them
from migrating. Their offspring never
learned to move with the seasons
and grew larger from the inactivity.
Killing them is not a good option
because geese from nearby areas will

simply move into the vacated spots.
"If they're not causing a lot of
problems, we always recommend,
first and foremost, tolerance," says
Dasher. "We are creating a lot of
habitat loss for these species and
they have to live somewhere."

KEEPING THEM AWAY, OR AT LEAST AT BAY

Coyote figurines, fake alligator
heads and real swans won't drive
away Canada geese, at least not for
long. Here are a few ways to keep
them from taking over:
* Don't feed the geese and ask
your neighbors not to do so. "A lot
of people will feed geese bread [and
other human foods]," says Lynsey
White Dasher, director of humane
wildlife conflict resolution for The
Humane Society of the United
States. "Not only is that bad for
making them congregate around

areas and possibly causing conflicts,
but it also can lead to deformities,
something called 'angel wing' where
they actually can't fly anymore."
* Try using laser lights at dusk to
scare the birds away from their
roosting spots.
* Treat your lawn with chemical
repellants that don't harm the geese
but that taste bad to them.
* Hire a handler to shoo the birds
away with specially trained dogs.
* Addle goose eggs with corn oil to
keep them from hatching or replace

them with artificial ones. Winter is
the best time to organize a community effort to identify nesting sites
and develop a plan. Register with
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
and check to see if your state has
additional requirements.
* Don't attempt to scare geese away
when they're nesting, molting or
raising young. They won't leave
their offspring behind in the spring
and can't fly when they lose their
feathers for six weeks in the
summer.
JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2014 | 7


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Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014

Cover
Table of Contents
Letters/Worth a Click
From the Editor
Creature Feature
From the Farm
Great Home Buys
Digital Help Guide
Mountain Report
The Hike
Festivals & Events
Mountain Curios: Racing Lawn Mowers
Mountain Curios: Stamping Out Squirrel Sex!
Mountain Curios: A Library as Big as a Breadbox?
Mountain Curios: Mill from 1794 Still Turns!
Mountain Curios: Indian Mounds in Downtown!
Travel Guide 2014: A Year of Great Festivals!
The Blue Ridge Parkway Photoessay
Travel Guide 2014: A Foodie's Dream Journey
Travel Guide 2014: The Retro Pilgrimage
Wilderness Institute in the Smokies
Mountain Garden
Cabin in the Woods: Royal Oaks Retreat
Guest Column
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Cover
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Table of Contents
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 4
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Letters/Worth a Click
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - From the Editor
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Creature Feature
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - From the Farm
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 9
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Great Home Buys
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 11
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 12
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Digital Help Guide
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Mountain Report
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 15
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - The Hike
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 17
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Festivals & Events
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 19
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 20
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 21
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 22
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Mountain Curios: Racing Lawn Mowers
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Mountain Curios: Stamping Out Squirrel Sex!
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Mountain Curios: A Library as Big as a Breadbox?
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Mountain Curios: Mill from 1794 Still Turns!
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Mountain Curios: Indian Mounds in Downtown!
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Travel Guide 2014: A Year of Great Festivals!
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 29
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 30
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 31
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 32
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 33
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - The Blue Ridge Parkway Photoessay
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 35
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 36
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 37
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Travel Guide 2014: A Foodie's Dream Journey
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 39
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 40
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 41
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 42
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 43
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 44
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 45
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 46
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 47
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Travel Guide 2014: The Retro Pilgrimage
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 49
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 50
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 51
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 52
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 53
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Wilderness Institute in the Smokies
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 55
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 56
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 57
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 58
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Mountain Garden
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 60
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 61
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Cabin in the Woods: Royal Oaks Retreat
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 63
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 64
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - 65
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Guest Column
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country - January/February 2014 - Cover4
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