Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Is There Such A Thing As A Homeless Goose?

By Steve Stackenwalt

Occasionally there is an issue in town that divides our citizens. Some issues can be so divisive as to pit neighbor against neighbor, brother against brother and even mother against son (still love you, Mom). The question at the heart of this debate is, “What do we do with all the geese at Laing Lake?”

The problems with this type of debate can be many. First of all, none of us have enough information to make a completely informed decision and even the information available is uncertain. Secondly, different sources present conflicting facts depending on their feelings and agenda. Third, how we interpret information is subject to our own preconceived opinions. And finally, when we are talking about a living creature - especially one that is so beautiful - it can be hard to separate science from Disney.

With that in mind, and to help facilitate the debate, I’ve decided to post this article and a couple polls on our blog. You will be able to comment anonymously, as long as the comments are within our guidelines for publishing - in other words, please don’t be rude! Our polls will ask how you feel about the geese and what you think we should do with them.

And against the advice of people that care about me, I’m going to give my opinion about the geese - in the form of a series of questions. Now don’t hold it against me, as it’s just my opinion and I am still open to other views and respectful of other opinions.

1.    What would you do if a pair of geese decided to live in your backyard? Feed them or ask them to leave?

2.    What would you do if a dozen geese decided to live in your backyard? Feed them or ask them leave?

3.    What would you do if your dozen geese invited their goose buddies to dinner; they ate all your food, and then all took a poop on your patio and in your kids’ wading pool? Then after that, they showed their appreciation for your hospitality by keeping you up all night with their honking – which only got louder as you scolded them – and then ran at you hissing as you drowsily took out the morning garbage in your untied rope and fuzzy slippers – which, by the way, were now covered in goose poop.  Would you live with the noise, the poop, and the contempt and continue to feed them or ask them leave?

4.    If you decided you had too many geese, how many would you ask to leave and how would you decide who should go? Keep the women and children (I know it’s hens and goslings)? Let them decide? Ask them all to go? Keep mates only as to not break up a loving couple? Which leads to the next question …

5.    Why do geese mate for life? Human-like loyalty and love (like Mother Goose or Charlotte’s Web) or instinctive survival of the species?

6.    Once you figured out who’s leaving, how would you get them to go? Wave at them with an open hand and softly say, “Shoo geese. Shoo.” or chase them with a broom, as you get a bit more vocal in hopes that your volume and angry tone might be enough to coax them to leave?

7.    Once you realize you can’t reason with a goose, what would you do next? Starve them (good luck), scare them (how do you do that) or shoot them (be ready to duck – excuse the pun)?

Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy geese just as much as the next guy. But I realize that we aren’t talking about Amelia and Emily from the AristoCats. Understandably, there are times when we humans are obligated to protect other creatures in order to promote the survival of a species or to help fix an ecosystem we may have screwed up. But I just can’t see letting a few thousand geese contaminate our lake and poop on every square inch of our park, all because we don’t want to hurt their feelings.

Ideally, we could simply limit the number of geese that call Laing Lake home. I’m not sure how that will work, but I am sure that the ones that end up leaving will not hold a grudge and will probably not end up homeless.
As always, thank you for reading and subscribing!


  1. Because of First Amendment Rights restrictions imposed by my wife, I request to remain anonymous even though I will sign my name.
    In order to understand the "Lang Lake Fairy Tale" it is necessary to begin at the beginning.
    Once upon a time long ago the realators and land owners in North Alliance thought it would be reag to have a beautiful lake there as it would not only serve Alliance but "boost" their property values. the then Fathers of Alliance( all on the city council) agreed and it was built.
    Oh my, then the property owners had and idea - Let's add fish and waterfoul to enhance the lake.
    But no one knew how to proceed. So, an expert was consulted. A wise man by the name of Briggs, who by the way, probably knew more about the subject than any 5 Game Commision Officers combiled. So and the tale goes on,,Mr Briggs informed everyone that he could implant a started goose population and that they would be notive to Alliance and always return to stay. The "Fathers" were thrilled and commissioned Mr. Briggs to do so. And so the goose population was begun
    Let us fast forward this tale to where now the goose population has exploded. SURPRISE - You cannot fool Mother Nature.
    For those who do not have the intellect to annalize the situation; let us annylize the problem.
    1. What doest the term "waterfoul" suggest to you. OK, times up.. two words - WATER FOUL.
    You have geese that live around a water enviornment that have been "imbedded" by nature that this is their home and will be forever...
    When will the City of Alliance, STOP wasting our tax dollars on programs that are doomed to fail even before they begin. If you are smart enough to "fool Mother Nature" then I must give you credit to be able to also walk on water.

    Douglas Price
    744 East 7th Street
    Allance Nebraska

  2. Find a predator that would not be a nuisance we are fighting... such as possibly... owl's or hawk's. Natural predator's have a short attention span, however. Dog's scare geese... allow the police dog to run and exercise 'supervised' to disturb the geese. How about harvesting the eggs before they hatch. If games and park dept. could determine the leader of the pack, focus on targeting the compass which may confuse migration (doubtful but better than mass assasination for the sensibilities of the kind hearted folks) We are a hunting community by at large, allow skilled hunter's to organize (OUT OF TOWN!!!) while bird's are grazing, allow with special permission of land owner's and by forest service to harvest a large number of the geese. Instead of turkey Thanksgiving ...glazed goose! Could be a new Alliance Fall Festival theme. Last but not least, dry up the pond. There is no permanent solution as long as there is water for the foul.


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