What do you do about a goose that just won't leave? Some are OK...a nice touch of nature in the city, but it's getting out of hand. Once a stop on their migration, Reno is now home to about 10,000 permanent feathered residents. As USDA Wildlife Biologist Jack Spencer Jr. told us, "You know, they once would go to the south. The south stops in Reno now. And there's food and water and ample habitat for them, so here they live and stay the rest of their days."
According to Nevada state wildlife biologist Kyle Neill, "We've created the ideal situation for geese with all the golf courses and parks...things that make Reno beautiful, the geese find attractive." Geese like water and they like to eat grass, which is why they congregate in parks and golf courses. And they're pretty smart too. Jack tells us they can even tell a coyote decoy from the real thing. "So it's not uncommon to have 10, 12, 14 year old birds, and they are highly intelligent and long-live species."
With the numbers we have now in the Truckee Meadows, not everyone's a fan of the webfoots. Kyle Neill says that's especially true of golf courses…"They don't like what the geese leave behind." And what they leave behind is an enormous amount of poop. As Jack Spencer told us, "They defecate 4 pounds a day...half their body weight, so that's quite a bit of material."
They leave minefields all over town. So, state and federal wildlife officers are banding together this week to tackle the persistent problem in the Truckee Meadows. Like they've been doing for 27 years now, wildlife officers will go out this week and hold a series of roundups, focusing on golf courses and parks. They hope to send up to a thousand geese to southern Nevada. The hope is that they stay there. Kyle says, "By a majority it does work. We're running about a 15% return rate."
They especially target the young geese, teaching them to stay somewhere else before they get too used to living here. But so far, the geese are winning. It's at the point now where most…are actually native. Jack Spencer says, "We've had about a 300% increase in urban geese. In fact, there's more urban geese living in town than migrate now. It's a large problem."
Sunday, May 19 2013 1:17 AM EDT2013-05-19 05:17:58 GMT
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Sunday, May 19 2013 12:24 AM EDT2013-05-19 04:24:52 GMT
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