Don’t Feed the Geese

Richardson’s Bay geese are thriving on their own  |  photo by Donna Lunsford  |  post by Larry Clinton and Tristan Thomas

West Pier dock rep Tristan Thomas passes along a reminder that humans feeding geese and other waterfowl can have unintended negative consequences.

Says Tristan: “Before reaching for that loaf of bread and soaking in that joy and excitement of feeding the fowl, remember that over feeding results in more poop than average for all neighbors.”

Drawing from websites geeserelief and totalwildlifecontrol, Tristan lists some major concerns:

It’s bad for the geese:

A diet rich in bread will likely lead to a condition called “angel wing” where feathers grow away from the body and joints do not form properly.  Especially for the goslings as they grow. This condition leaves the geese (or other waterfowl) with a physical ailment, unable to fly and at the mercy of predators.

It’s bad for Richardson’s Bay:

Too many geese concentrated in one area, also called a gaggle, creates algae blooms (from their poop) and can kill fish.

It’s bad behavior:

Feeding geese increases the chance of dangerous interactions between geese and humans (or other animals) and encourages them to come aboard our homes and docks. Geese can become very aggressive and protective of their nests so it’s best to keep them off floating homes and docks.

We seem to be seeing more geese every year, but let’s just enjoy watching them. They’re very good at feeding themselves.