Late April and early May is breeding season for Canada Geese (Branta Canadensis). Those cute little goslings seen wandering around East and West Piers will soon grow into 15 to 20-pound creatures that will live for as long as 20 years. Here are five facts to keep in mind about our waddling neighbors:
- Keep away from goslings. Though generally harmless, geese will attack anything (including humans) they perceive as a threat to their goslings. You can usually tell when a goose is about to attack because it will stretch out its neck, and honk or hiss.
- Feeding geese is not a good idea. Human food, particularly bread, wreaks havoc on the goose’s digestive system. Feeding encourages aggressiveness and competitiveness amongst the geese and it makes them dependent upon, and less fearful of, humans. Feeding may also influence migratory behavior.
- Avoid goose poop. Geese defecate approximately every twenty minutes and up to two pounds a day. People should avoid contact with goose poop as it contains pathogens harmful to humans.
- Geese are prodigious breeders. A female goose can produce over 50 offspring in her lifetime. Because of the scarcity of predators in Marin, survival rate is high giving these waterfowl the potential to displace other species that share the waterways and wetlands.
- Canada geese are “new” to this area. Once nearly extinct, Canada geese were rarely seen in the Bay Area fifty years ago but now federal law protects them. In turn, their migratory behavior has been altered making some geese year-round Marin residents, thanks to our hospitable habitat.