Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Goosing The Geese Away

H. Jay Spiegel says he has had 50 Canada geese sleep on his dock at night.
"Every morning I'd have to go out there first thing to wash . . . the dock because you don't want it drying up."
Photo Credit: By James A. Parcell -- The Washington Post

Stratford Landing, a lovely neighborhood not far from George Washington's Mount Vernon, has a problem. A geese problem. People feed them, and the geese are so grateful that they stay.


They waddle on docks along Little Hunting Creek, into the meticulously groomed back yards that flank the water, and they even wander up to Stockton Parkway, disrupting traffic. They confront people out for daily strolls, honking belligerently for a meal.

One thing about Canada geese: They don't like to be disappointed when it comes to food. They're nasty. They believe in biting the hand that doesn't feed them.

And even worse: These beautiful creatures poop. Frequently. Green poop that turns back yards into fecal nightmares. Canada geese poop production has been estimated to be at least a half-pound a day per goose, so if a flock of three dozen geese while away the afternoon on someone's lawn, or a few hundred congregate -- doing what they do best -- the coverage can be extensive.

But for the geese-plagued residents of Stratford Landing, relief may be on the way. With residents lamenting a decline in their quality of life, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors next week will consider a geese-be-gone ordinance that would prohibit the feeding of geese and ducks along Little Hunting Creek. Anyone who tosses so much as a kernel of corn could face a $50 fine. The ordinance would be enforced by animal control officers. Read More from The Washington Post.