The Poop On The Goose Roundup

RENO, NV - To many local residents, Canada geese are a big nuisance.

They leave a mess and they can be aggressive. Near the airport they can be a potential safety hazard.

Others like them.

"They do not bother me at all. "I love the geese," says Evangeline Ford taking her usual walk around Virginia Lake.

"I love them I've always had an obsession with nature," adds Christina Gunyah.

Ask Kimberley Jones if she worries about stepping in the poop and you'll hear it's no big deal.

"You can walk around it. It's bird poop. It's going to going to disintegrate anyway."

In any case, they seem destined to share the landscape with us.

"We've created a perfect environment for geese< says Nevada Department of Wildlife biologist Kyle Neill. "All these parks and golf courses. Everything's perfect for geese. When they get here, they've got everything they need."

So, he says we have a permanent year round population supplemented by birds migrating in during the winter.

So, it seems we're destined to repeat the roundup every year.

This is the ideal time for the gathering as the young geese can't fly yet, but even older birds that can fly will be captured. They are we are reminded, intelligent birds, a long-lived, social species.

While they won't go willingly, over the years state wildlife workers have devised an effective strategy for capturing them.

Once in custody, they are banded.

Neill says their fans shouldn't be concerned.

"We're not hurting the birds. The survival rates are excellent. We lose very few anymore."

They hauled off to one of several wildlife management areas and released.

And yes, they do fly and some do return.

"The return of younger birds is minimal," says Neill "I think we're looking at about a 15 percent return rate over all and those are mostly those are adult birds which have already been banded. "

Those adults are the recidivists. The roundup crews have seen them at least once before and will likely see them again.

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