Oh, Canada

By |  February 18, 2015 0 Comments

As Americans, we’re tremendously fortunate to have such great neighbors (or should I say neighbours) to the north. Not only do they have one of the coolest flags in the world, they have shared many of their finest cultural achievements with us. Off the top of my head, we can thank them for hockey, maple syrup and the cinematic classic, Strange Brew.

On the other hand, they are unfortunately responsible for sending us Arctic air masses and Justin Bieber. But worst of all, and that’s saying something when you consider the latter of the first two, they have also shared their Canada geese with us.

Author and conservationist Aldo Leopold said, “One swallow does not make a summer, but one skein of geese, cleaving the murk of March thaw, is the spring.” Honestly, I’m not totally sure what “skein” or “cleaving the murk of March thaw” means, but I can tell you that seeing a flock of geese descending onto the golf course does not elicit the same poetic thoughts for me as it apparently did for Leopold. I absolutely can’t stand them.

The only thing that “one skein of geese” means to me is one skein’s worth of goose poop, most likely on or near a green and virtually never somewhere out of sight. In fact, 50 geese can produce 2.5 tons of excrement per year, hence their scientific name, Bagus decrapii. Cleaning up their prodigious mess is one of those jobs during which you think “I’m really happy to still be paying the student loans that financed the degree which is allowing me to do this right now.”

It’s hard to believe that in the early 20th century, Canada geese populations were so low that they were actually a protected species and were even reintroduced in some areas where populations had significantly decreased. A big round of applause to the policy makers behind that decision since they’ve now rebounded to plague-like populations.

They’re basically the Poa annua of the animal kingdom, virtually ubiquitous and not easy to get rid of. They either live in or migrate through all of the 48 contiguous states and all 10 Canadian provinces and three territories.

They have literally zero redeeming qualities, especially in the golf course environment. As herbivores, they don’t eat bugs or any other pests, nor do they do anything that would be considered especially beneficial. They basically just hang out on the course all day, honking and hissing at people when they’re not too busy picking at a green or relieving themselves all over an approach.

For an encore, they’ll leave the course right around the time you decide to head home and will end up blocking traffic for 10 minutes when they decide they need to walk down the middle of the street. This situation is occasionally made exponentially worse if there happens to be a “goose whisperer” on the scene. You know what I’m talking about. The passing motorist, frequently driving a Prius or a Subaru, who feels it is their moral responsibility to exit their vehicle in the middle of the road and shepherd the geese to safety.

While many people employ various control options including noise harassment, barriers, lasers, egg/nest disruption and dogs, it’s no secret that many of them are nothing more than a temporary solution. So like Bieber, I guess we just have to deal with them and hope they eventually go away.

If you’re looking for a way to retire with more money than you’ll ever need, developing an effective goose deterrent system might just be your ticket. Just don’t expect the goose whisperer to be an investor.

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