Monday, September 29, 2008

Boo hiss, Branta canadensis

Branta canadensis is the bane of my existence these days. What is that, you ask? (What, no ornithologists read my blog?) Here's a hint:

The above pictures were taken earlier this summer, back when the Canada goose population in our neighborhood was just beginning to burgeon with goslings. (Now that it's fall, my burning bushes are starting to burn and my lilies are pretty much done...)
I know that many suburban areas are dealing with the annoyances of vast populations of Canada geese. In our area, there are three small ponds within a quarter mile, including one smack dab behind our property. This means that we don't just have flocks of geese, but hordes of them. It is a veritable plague of geese in our neighborhood. Every morning, the kiddo and I must tread carefully on our way to the corner, lest we step in a Canada Goose Land Mine. The sidewalks, streets and unfenced yards are strewn with goose droppings. The geese have also been known to hold up traffic by sauntering across the street, single file, hissing and flapping their wings at the cars they are blocking.

Now, I try to shrug off the holding up traffic; I realize that the adults lose their flight feathers during gosling season (though it seems they could do us the courtesy of hurrying it along when crossing the road - they are positively meandering and don't give a hoot - or a honk). I even try to frame the fecal extravaganza in positive terms - all that poop must make great fertilizer for the lawn (at least in our front yard; they don't go in our back yard thanks to the fence. Geese like to have a large, clear sightline in order to land, so the fence keeps them out quite handily.)

The reason I'm so anti-Branta canadensis comes from one, simple thing. These birds are LOUD. Not just the honking, though that woke Hubby and me up again well before our alarm clock this morning, but also from when they make a water landing. Graceful, these birds are not! Now, we have a few gray and white herons that visit our pond regularly - gawky birds with massive, pterodactyl-like wingspans. The herons' wings are so large that you can hear them beating the air, helicopter-rotor-like, when they fly over, whump whump whump. But when they touch down in the pond, there's nary a splish. Not so much the geese. They sound like someone is gluing large cats to frozen turkeys, then tossing them into the pond from a great height. THUNKsplashsplashsplashsplash, and of course HONKING all the while. The noise is quite disconcerting and loud enough to rouse one from a deep sleep. It sounds like someone is fighting a sea monster there in our back yard.


? Hard to say...........

"Well, Heather," you say, "at least the geese are migratory. Won't they be gone soon?" Nope. Can't even cling to that hope. These geese are here until well after the pond's frozen over solid. (That is an even more disturbing sound than the water landing - a mess of geese all trying to land in the same, small spot of unfrozen water.)

So, this is why I'm grumpy this morning, because we were once again woken up before 5am by the clamoring ruckus of the Canada geese. Mother Nature is one evil witch sometimes, let me tell you!


Hot Tub Lizzy said...

I hate those dang things... I've lived in two towns that were hotbeds for Canada Geese. The poop, the smell, and, as you say, the noise... the noise noise noise noise... (think the Grinch there)... we lived a mile away from their hangout... but inbetween their hangout and their cornfield of choice... and gadzooks they were loud going over the house

Teresa said...

So, I googled "goose repellent" and seems there are 2 viable options -- chemical repellents and big lawn coyotes. Is there a neighborhood association? If you could get everyone in the neighborhood on board with the chemical goose repellent program for a full year, it might get y'all off the "goose radar." What do you think?


Ronnica said...

Thank for calling them correctly "Canada geese" and not the more common but incorrect "Candian geese." I used to be really interested in ornithology in high school.

momto1 said...

Not to mention that these things are MEAN! I used to live in an apartment complex that had a pond and many resident geese. One really gambled with their life if deciding to take a walk around the pond--I got chased, flapped at and, like your title suggests, hissed at. No one really believed me until they'd come vist and say "take me to see the killer geese..." laughing the whole time. Then I showed them and it wasn't so funny anymore!

Evi said... THAT'S where they all go!!

Anonymous said...

LOL I am trying hard to picture and hear the sound of them hitting water, too funny!!!! LOL