Honk if you’re hungry



You may have noticed the two Canada geese who’ve made the SUB green (seasonally the SUB swamp) their home. Some talk about the nuisance of goose deuce, others delight in the novelty of animals living so near.

I’ve heard some hissing about geese, but I think we should embrace the new tenants. Geese can be a problem, the City of Abbotsford has a “Goose Control Program” to curtail the “unnaturally high populations of Canada geese.” I think we should embrace the geese until they’re ready to carry on.

How should we do that?

In the Humane Society of the United States’ “Solving Problems with Canada Geese: A Management Plan and Information Guide,” it is recommended that one devises a plan to deal with problem geese. The five steps to do so are listed as follows: “Examine how, when, and why geese are using the site. Select the best combination and timing of techniques to make your site less attractive to geese. Develop a plan of how you will apply these techniques at your site. Implement your plan. Monitor how it works, adjusting where needed.”

When planning a plan, never forget to plan to implement it. That’s rule number four.

According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the resident Canada goose population has increased dramatically in the last couple decades. Possibly taking notes from millenials in another familiar species who similarly have trouble leaving the nest.

According to Canadian Geographic, geese are waterfowl, but they spend about as much time on land as in the water. In the spring and summer, they eat leaves, flowers, stems, roots, seeds, and berries. Apparently they’ll also eat for up to 12 hours or more a day.

Is it really a surprise that they hang around a university campus? They fit right in.

As it turns out, UFV does not have a post-detection protocol for geese. Or maybe they do, but to avoid causing widespread panic (like the government not having — or admitting to having — an alien post-detection protocol), they’ve not listed it on the website.

The Cascade Journalism Society has its own suggestions for best practices when dealing with the resident UFV Student Union Building geese.

Guide to geese peace rule number one: don’t feed the geese, unless it’s something easy to digest like Camus or Sartre, nothing weird. Post-structuralism is way out, unless you want the birds to leave.

Avoid stepping in feathery feces by not texting while walking. It’s pretty easy to avoid when you watch where you’re going. The nesting phase is coming to a close. If you see goslings running around, try to be friendly. These goslings don’t play jazz piano, so don’t ask.

It can be pretty frustrating having them hang around all day, eating and pooping, but remember, these geese aren’t freeloaders, they’re university students.

Some final goose facts:

You can tell a goose apart from other birds because of the way it looks. Geese purr, according to Mary Lou Simms writing for Huffington Post, though she also notes that “the Canada goose is the most joyous creature” she’s ever known and “[c]ontrary to popular belief, Canada geese don’t stay in one place,” so I doubt her expertise. Last but not least, geese are not fond of belly rubs.  

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