November and the start of the annual Canada Goose Wars. This is the time that the geese who have spent their summers in the arboreal forests and lakes of Canada, fly south to find or revisit their winter homes in the Mid-Atlantic states. They have been doing this trip for millennia. The difference today is that other non-migratory geese have been introduced to the Middle-Atlantic States and these geese spend the entire year here, eating, polluting the waterways, and putting on the pounds that they will not need for migrating. So when the migratory cousins come back home there are territorial wars and less aquatic vegetation in their traditional foraging grounds. They all need to eat during the cold winter months.
Here on Lake Elkhorn in Maryland we have already been seeing and hearing the conflict. In the adjacent video, watch what happened this morning when two different groups got too close to one another, while feeding on the same shoreline. You might want to watch this video several time to see the tactics of the major and the secondary players. Let’s hope there is room for all of them this winter. Next spring, we might want to revisit our management policies with regard to the introduced, non-migratory birds which are competing with the wild geese.
Take-a-way: Go watch the geese return. They bring a bit of wilderness right into our backyards!! It is probably not good to feed either the migratory or resident geese – creates higher density and can lead to faster spreading of disease.