Open Letter on Goose Management

Open Letter on Goose Management

The Alameda Sun received a copy of this letter.

Dear concerned resident:

Thanks for reaching out to us. Your concern is very much appreciated.

By planting and watering lawns and golf courses, as well as by curtailing predators, we, here in the Bay Area, have created a prime environment for Canada Geese, who love to graze the fresh grass shoots near water. Fifty years ago, it was quite rare for Canada Geese to reside year-round or breed in the East Bay.

The first recorded nesting activity was at Brooks Island (Richmond) in 1959, and was greeted with great excitement by California ornithologists. Since then, however, their populations have increased dramatically. While we rejoice in wildlife successfully becoming part of our urban life, Canada Geese and humans have reached a point where they have had to be creative in developing a new relationship.

For an overview of Canada Geese, see www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Canada_Goose/lifehistory.

Wildfowl are protected by law, and it is illegal to harass them. I am a Naturalist, meaning interpreter of nature and history, and I and the other Naturalists do our best to make sure people respect the wildlife, including geese, in our parks. We rove the park, and speak with people about the different creatures they may encounter.

If we see dogs or children threatening the geese, or folks feeding them, we inform them of the importance of these wild creatures, and the proper way to show them the respect they deserve. Dogs are required to be on leash in the Crab Cove area, and in developed areas of other East Bay Parks, including lawns, where you are most likely to find Canada Geese and their young.

We also produce public messages about many aspects of the parks, including these two on ducks and geese by Susan Ramos, a Naturalist at Crab Cove Visitor Center.

Our crew of East Bay Regional Park Rangers, as well as our public safety personnel, also actively patrol the park and will step in if they see improper treatment of geese or other wildlife. I will reach out to make sure all our staff here at Crab Cove/Crown Beach are aware of potential threats.

For more information about Canada Geese and their legal status, check out www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/pdf/surveys-and-data/Final_EIS_Resident_CAGO_....

We have an abundance of various signs telling folks what to do and not to do in the parks, and we find that folks often don’t take time to read them, so we will probably not be putting out additional signs right now, but will take your suggestion into consideration.

— Kevin Dixon Acting Supervising Naturalist, Crab Cove Visitor Center