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  • Cindy Pellegrini

Help the Wildlife Committee


Spring is just around the corner for Fairfield Harbour, and wildlife is stirring.  Young adult geese are beginning to find mates and look for nesting sites, and pairs from previous years are returning to raise new families. Fairfield’s Wildlife Committee is going to have a very busy spring, and it requests your help. 

We’ll be searching for nests, but we have a lot of acreage to protect, and we can’t afford to miss any.  During the egg-laying season from March to May, each goose lays one to two eggs per day, with an average clutch containing four to nine eggs, and sometimes more.  If only half the resulting young escape the turtles and alligators and live to maturity, basic math will illustrate the problem our community will face in only a few years without coordinated effort and intervention.

You can help!

If you live near, or overlooking water, please watch for pairs of geese lingering in your vicinity.  A lone goose circling nearby is typically the male guarding his mate, brooding nearby.  Please notify the POA office! 

Wearing “Safety Yellow” vests, Wild Life Committee volunteers work in teams of three or four: the addler and the defenders who use brooms to keep the goose and gander away from the nest while the addler  works. Each egg is marked with a felt tip marker, carefully dipped in corn oil to prevent it from hatching, then returned to the nest. The nest location, the number of eggs addled, and the date the eggs were addled are recorded before the goose returns to her eggs.  At the end of the incubation period the eggs and the nest are removed.  

This waiting period is important.  Since the goose does not eat while she waits for her eggs to hatch, she would starve if we didn’t remove them.  If we remove them too soon,  she’ll lay a second clutch and the goose population would increase.

You can help in another way, too.

PLEASE, don’t feed the geese!  Geese and other wildlife need the nutrition their natural diet provides.  Wildlife fed by humans lose their natural fear of us, increasing the likelihood of dangerous encounters between humans and wildlife such as coyotes, bears, and alligators.    Human food disrupts their natural diet, causes developmental problems, and lowers their resistance to disease.  Below, a photo of a Canada goose with angel wing, a deformity particular to waterfowl caused by a diet high in protein and carbohydrates such as bread, corn, and popcorn.  These foods raise the bird’s sugar and protein levels, and decrease levels of manganese and vitamins D and E. This goose can’t fly and now is easy prey for any predator.

Aside from causing physical malformations, feeding our geese causes an increase in population, which leads to more eggs being laid, a higher rate of defecation and more bacteria, disease, and pollution. The droppings damage property and cause health problems.  Finally, human-fed geese lose their fear of humans and can be dangerously aggressive if they aren’t given the food they’ve been taught to expect.  

It’s a cycle Fairfield Harbour can avoid, with your help.

Angel wing mainly occurs in waterfowl and it's much more common in geese than in ducks.

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