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Greenwich Daily Voice serves Greenwich, CT
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Aggressive Geese Populate Greenwich Parks

GREENWICH, Conn. — Picture yourself at Bruce Park, enjoying a view of the pond while munching on a tasty breakfast sandwich from a local deli. You see a gaggle of geese wade toward you and waddle up over the water’s edge. Suddenly, it feels like a scene out of Alfred Hitchcock’s " The Birds " as the geese swarm, hissing, chomping their beaks and eyeing your bacon, egg and cheese with a menacing gaze.

This type of behavior is aggressive and comes from people feeding the geese bread, popcorn and other snacks, experts say. Signs at the edge of this pond state the dangers of feeding geese. “Definitely don’t feed them,” said Joseph Cassone, conservation assistant for the town’s Conservation Commission . “We get complaints from people all the time, saying, ‘They never leave and they make a mess.’”

In Greenwich, it’s illegal to feed wild waterfowl and doing so is punishable by a maximum $100 fine, but it’s an offense that’s difficult to curtail. “There’s no one on dedicated goose patrol, but an occasional show of force or warning might help,” said Cassone.

Two types of geese live in Greenwich — migratory Canada geese native to the area and resident geese that don’t migrate and are the ancestors established from goose hunters who brought over live decoys from the Midwest in the 1930s. “They never leave and they like our parks because there is clean grass and water,” said Cassone. “They like over-manicured grass and ponds, so we tell people, if you don’t want geese in your yard, it’s not a good idea to have a manmade pond.”

The town isn’t planning to reduce the size of the goose population. But the commission is trying to prevent the population from getting bigger. In spring, conservation members dip goose eggs in corn oil, a procedure approved by the American Humane Society. It blocks off the egg’s pores and stops its development.

“Some people want us to smash the eggs, but they don’t realize that the parents will re-lay the eggs and start the process all over again,” said Cassone. “This way they continue to sit on them, and they eventually don’t hatch.”

The town also works with Geese Peace , a program that aims to provide humane and effective solutions to wildlife conflicts. “A contractor will go out with a Border collie, and for some reason are afraid of the dog’s stare,” said Cassone. “It will get to the point where they’ll see the dog and leave, until they’re conditioned never to go there.”

Have you had any problems with geese in Greenwich? Next week The Daily Greenwich will post an article on deer overpopulation. Send any stories or questions for the town to ahelhoski@thedailygreenwich.com.

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