Thursday, October 20, 2016

Duck, duck, duck, goose

Two of the places where I walk most frequently, the Boston Public Garden and the Esplanade (along the Charles River) are overrun with Canada geese. Now I have nothing against Canada geese in the abstract. They look nice on Christmas cards with a wreathe around their necks and all that. But up-close and personal,canadagoose_tcm9-18252 these are some nasty little ol’ critters.

They saunter around like they own the place, right in my path. And while I don’t exactly own the place, I am a taxpayer. So I more or less help pay for the place. Which Canada geese most decidedly do not.

We didn’t use to have these POS-creators. Then all of a sudden, maybe 10 or 15 years ago, they were everywhere.

And the problem is, they are scat artists par excellence, leaving their greenish white cigar shaped turds wherever the decide to saunter. Which is always right in my path.

We used to just have mallards on the Esplanade and in the Public Garden. Think Make Way for Ducklings, which is set in both of these spots. The ducks are still there, and one of my late-spring highlights is seeing one of the mallard moms paddling around the Public Garden lagoon or in the Charles River, trailed by a flotilla of ducklings.

I don’t know where mallards crap, but it’s not on the walkways of the Public Garden or the Esplanade.(Are there tiny little mallard toilets that I’ve missed seeing over the years?) Unlike their goosey, less fastidious cousins, who seem to crap willy-nilly.

And it’s not just the parks that I frequent. These SOG’s are everywhere.

A week or so back, I read that Boston’s City Council has held a hearing to try to figure out what the city can do about it. According to experts, there are a number of options:

Border collies can drive geese from certain public areas. Special fencing can cordon off geese to a limited range. Goose eggs can be addled to hinder gosling births. Residents can stop feeding them. (Source: Boston Globe)

I’ve got another one: My cousin MB, who lives on a pond on Cape Cod, is sometimes plagued by Canada geese. When they were having company, her late husband used to go out in the backyard and crack a bull whip. He didn’t go after the geese. Just making the whip-cracking noise was enough to keep them at bay for a bit.


…individually, each method might not be enough to combat the waterfowl’s perceived influx to the city.

Perceived influx into the city? Where has this writer been? Clearly not walking in our fair city’s parks.

“We need a massive amount of resources to get to every nook and cranny” where geese are, said Boston City Councilor Mark Ciommo. “This is a public health concern ... a quality-of-life issue.”

I’m with Mark Ciommo. It’s definitely a quality-of-life-issue. And it’s costing a lot of the parks’ budget to clean up after these no-good-niks.

The City Council also explored fining people who feed the geese. Bring it on. (Maybe go after the pigeon feeders while we’re at it. I haven’t seen the feral-cat feeding ladies, who used to leave tins of cat food in doorways all over the Hill, in years, but they’d be on the fine list, too. I will confess that I have been known to break bread for the mallards.) And bring on the border collies, the special fencing, the egg addling.

What’s addling, you may ask? (I did.)

Addling is somehow getting the egg away from the goose, doing something to destroy the embryo, and somehow getting the egg back under the unsuspecting goose, so they think that they’ve got something going. So that they don’t lay another, more viable egg. One way to addle is to coat the egg with corn oil. But not just anyone can do that.

For starters, you need an egg addling permit from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

And you can only addle eggs on your own property. And, as the FAQ on egg addling permits notes:

It's important to understand that the presence of Canada geese is not a sufficient reason to acquire a permit to addle eggs; there must be a reasonable basis for addling eggs, such as property damage.

State and municipal entities must also get permits, and they’re only allowed to addle on state and municipal property. They can’t go addling on private properties.

So I guess I can only get a permit if one of those Canada geese makes it into the fenced off frontage of our building, which is unlikely. And I’d have to demonstrate property damage. Is a shoe sole covered with goose crap enough?

1 comment:

Frederick Wright said...

Even if I never have occasion to use it, I'm now obsessed with obtaining an egg addling permit. This will be my primary state-issued identification going forward.