Here are some facts and information about the complex topic of managing Canada Geese in the Denver area:
- It is our understanding that Denver Parks and Recreation is acting according to management plans that state and federal agencies have reviewed and approved—and that comply with the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
- Denver Audubon supports a balance between the needs of wildlife and public/environmental health. Generally, culling, hazing, and repellents are short-term solutions.
- A long term solution would be to convert lawns in our parks and neighborhoods to native plants, such as wildflowers, shrubs, and taller grasses, or artificial turf in playing fields. This would require giving up bluegrass lawns in our playing fields, golf courses, and grassy picnic areas for native habitats with taller grasses, shrubs, and wildflowers. The community would have to be willing to make that switch.
- After facing extinction in the early 1900s, Canada Geese were reintroduced to the Front Range. However, resident goose populations found in Denver area parks have increased beyond a healthy limit. This is compounded by the fact that introduced/resident populations do not migrate.
- The local Canada Goose population does not migrate because we have created a year-round food source with lawns at our homes, parks, golf courses, and corporate centers. As a result, Canada Geese remain in the area, breed, and overpopulate in those areas.
- Overpopulation of Canada Geese creates unhealthy conditions for themselves and other wildlife, as well as undesirable conditions for park visitors.
- Goose droppings increase pollution such as nitrates and E. coli in nearby water, as well as create a health concern for humans.
- Human development and encroachment has eliminated the natural predators to control the goose populations, particularly in our urban parks. Without predators to provide an ecological balance, suburbs and urban environments require human stewardship.
- With culling, the young will have more resources available for their survival, and the resulting flocks should be heathier and stronger.
- As with any policy, we suggest citizens wishing to advocate change to contact their city officials and council persons to express concerns, especially to voice support for long-term, sustainable changes that promote healthy ecosystems for all bird and wildlife species.
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