The waterfowl were out in force at Schiller Park today. Even though it was a steamy day, most of the ducks and Canadian geese had forsaken the cool waters of the pond and ventured out onto the grass, looking for food and using their bills to tug away at potential sustenance.
It was interesting to see the ducks and geese out of the water, but you can’t let yourself get too carried away by the sight of our waddling water pals. When geese are about, you’ve really got to watch where you step.
The Schiller Park pond, like every small body of water in the central Ohio area, has a goose problem. Canadian geese, to be specific: loud, squawking, honking, aggressive, madly crapping creatures that carpet every surface around the pond, including the sidewalk, with rancid goose droppings. You will never hear anyone who lives around any kind of Ohio pond say a good word about the freaking Canadian geese, because inside their noble blck-and-white exterior is utter abomination.
This morning as Betty and I took our walk around the park we noticed this car parked on the street near the pond, and saw a person in a yellow day-glo vest and a border collie patrolling the perimeter of the pond, barking at the geese and scaring the crap out of them (at least, whatever crap remains in view of their standard crapping tendencies). Apparently someone decided it is time to do something about the goose problem at the park and called in Ohio Geese Control, which promises to be “safe, humane, and effective” in resolving geese issues. According to the company’s website, it will “identify the site characteristics most attractive to the geese (e.g., security, food, nesting sites, water)” and then “design a custom management program based on the potential for reducing these characteristics.” I’m guessing that the border collie addresses the “security” element of goose pond selection decision-making.
This is a bit of a NIMBY issue, because the Canadian geese exist in our area and are going to locate somewhere. But maybe Ohio Geese Control can get the geese to leave this little pond in the corner of a busy urban park that is frequented by children and dogs, and take their aggressive ways and mad crapping to a more remote rural location, or one of those corporate park ponds with a fountain in the middle that no one actually walks around. Getting rid of the geese at the Schiller Park pond would make 2020 a little bit better.
This fall somebody put two fake plastic swans on the little pond at Schiller Park. Since the pond already is teeming with real waterfowl, you could reasonably ask why some fake swans got tossed into the mix. My understanding is that they are supposed to discourage other migrating birds — specifically, those loud-squawking, ever-crapping, aggressive Canadian geese — from landing and fouling the area. Swans and Canadian geese apparently are mortal enemies from way back.
From a distance the swans are relatively realistic looking. The two of them even have different postures. But the illusion of real swans is totally lost when the pond freezes over, as happened recently, and the swans get frozen into immobility.
And yet . . . the Canadian geese still seem to be avoiding the pond, even after the swans have been exposed as fakes. Maybe Canadian geese, like most bullies, just aren’t that smart.
Springtime is the time for hatchlings at the Schiller Park pond. Today I noticed three new goslings being chaperoned by the entire flock of resident Canadian geese. The adult geese are loud, obnoxious, constantly crapping pains in the behind, but their fuzzy, tumbling offspring are cute as the dickens.
It’s spring, so of course we’ve got hatchlings at the Schiller Park pond. A family of Canadian geese has a brood of four goslings who have been strutting their stuff, to the delight of their proud and protective parents and passersby alike.
The brown goslings are almost unbearably cute, and their tumbling and waddling as they follow Mom and Dad around is fun to watch. Soon they’ll be losing their downy coats and will emerge as full-grown Canadian geese — one of the most aggressive, loud-honking, crap-anywhere-and-everywhere, obnoxious species of birds that you find around these parts.
As the windblown snow was pelting down this morning, I passed a gaggle of Canadian geese that had decided to camp on the fairway of number 4 North and just endure the storm. Normally they’d be on the nearby pond, but it’s been completely iced over for months and apparently was unsuitable as a landing zone.
The geese seemed comfortable enough when I walked by. They waddled around, primped their feathers, plumped down onto the ground, and squawked their lungs out. They must have gotten tired of getting bombarded by the pellets of snow, however, because by the time I made the turn and was heading for home I heard their full-throated call up in the air and saw their familiar airborne V formation headed east.
I’ve got news for them — conditions aren’t any better in Pittsburgh.
It’s late fall, and in New Albany that means dealing with the annual migration of the reviled Canadian geese.
We’ve had gaggles of geese moving through New Albany for weeks now. You hear them before you see them. The brassy honking draws your attention, and then you see the familiar V-shaped flying wedge in the sky. The geese follow the leader to the pond on number 5 North, where they inevitably tussle with the swan. Geese and swans don’t get along, and when the geese land they stick to grassy areas and enter the pond only when the swan is at the opposite end.
Does any other creature have such a huge chasm between appearance and actuality? Canadian geese are noble looking, with their black necks and white-slashed heads — but in person they are loud, annoying poop machines who leave the ground coated with disgusting droppings. It’s always a relief when the last gang heads south for the winter.