By Zachary Barry
It’s that time of year again. The leaves have almost all fallen from the trees, and there is a chill in the air. These changes can only mean one thing, the return of Geese to the Mine’s campus. If this is your first year at mines, you may not know what to expect. Be warned, soon gaggles of geese will arrive on campus to chow down on the grass at Kafadar, make walking between buildings in the area more difficult, and honk relentlessly.
To know thy enemy,
The Geese which visit the Mines campus in the late fall/early winter are Canadian Geese. The Canada Goose, Branta canadensis, have year-round habitat from the US-Canada border to the middle of the United States. These Geese fly north into Canada to breed and have been seen as far south as the Gulf Coast of Texas. Cornell Labs describes the Canada Goose as, “Goose-sized or larger,” with a “black head with white cheeks and chinstrap, [Long] black neck, tan breast, and brown back.” The Habitat of the Canada Goose is open spaces near bodies of water, including rivers, lakes, and ponds. A couple of “Cool Facts” about the Canada goose from Cornell include; “In general, the geese get smaller as you move northward, and darker as you go westward. The four smallest forms are now considered a different species: the Cackling Goose,” and “In a pattern biologists call “assortative mating,” birds of both sexes tend to choose mates of a similar size”.
To meet him on the field of battle,
The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Department has a section of their website dedicated to “Managing Human-Goose Conflicts in Urban and Suburban Areas”. In this article CPW states, and we here at The Oredigger would like to stress, do not harm or kill Geese, Goslings, Eggs, or their Nests. That being said, you don’t have to bow down the goosie overlords, as CPW lists several non-harmful ways to combat them. First off, just like college students, if you don’t provide free food, Geese will find new habitats where food is available. If all the frats stop leaving half-eaten pizza boxes on their front lawns and the Geese still don’t leave, it’s time to turn to hazing. If we can’t convince the Geese to march up Mt. Zion so that we can spray them with water regardless of whether or not they consent, CPW has several suggestions. The first practice suggestion is to use noisemakers or pyrotechnics. Perhaps a smaller “GeesE-days” fireworks display in the fall could be a practical way to scare off the Geese. In a move analogous to filling your house with larger spiders to get rid of the smaller spiders in your house, some people have taken to releasing Swans with clipped wings into waterways to scare of Geese. Between these two impractical solutions are Scarecrows, Balloons, Scare Tape. The idea with all these solutions is to place an object in the Geese’s space that moves and makes noise. That being said, I think that Geese are less of a problem than Scarecrows that move on their own.
And to forgive him.
Perhaps we should simply try to coexist with these Geese. They are just one part of the cycle of seasons, like the tulip bulbs popping up in the spring. So what if they tend to be a little bit territorial and make a mess of the IM fields while they stop at Mines during their migration? Its said that adversity builds character. Personally, the last two years have helped me build plenty of character. If all I have to complain about is a couple of birds, that’s one massive improvement from this time a year ago at least.