What’s Good For the Goose May Not be Good For You

Honk if you’ve had it up to here with geese on the golf course, in your yard, all over parks and beaches. You are not the only one

Not all that long ago, people thought of Canada geese as symbols of wildness and long-distance flight, high-honking heralds carrying news of the seasons along the flyways. But today there is a burgeoning population of sedentary geese that, as one wildlife official puts it, "couldn't find Canada on the best day of their lives." Nor do they want to. These resident pests find landscaped suburban lawns much more pleasant than subarctic tundra. Tastier, too.

From deafening noisemakers to border collie guards to relocation programs, harried homeowners have tried just about everything to get relief from the mess and the menace of the garrulous geese. Biologist Leslie Gerstenfield Press, on the other hand, believes its the humans that need to adjust. "We...have stolen their home, and they have a right to be there."

Whether we can adjust to the changes geese are making in our habitat is unclear. "I chose to live here," says Robin Asken, a Connecticut homeowner. "But it comes with problems--ticks on the deer that carry Lyme disease, rabies in the raccoons, and now we have this goose problem. "Sometimes I wonder," Robin jokes, "if we'd feel safer living in Manhattan."

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