Monday, September 20, 2010
It used to be a sight that would stir the heart. Geese flying south for the winter, making their way through--and that's the key, here--THROUGH the clouds and wind and rain and..whatever...to their destination for the season, be it winter or spring.
Now, the geese "migrate" from north of town to south of town, essentially residing here permanently. They honk a lot as they fly over each night when we're milking; they land in grassy pastures, or on farm ponds, they consume great quantities of grass and grain, they leave behind huge, slippery messes...and in essence, much as I hate to admit it, (I've always loved migrating geese) they are now pests.
Apparently the state game department thought it would be lovely to transplant a few here in West Virginia. That was several years back and we would practically swoon with joy to see a pair on our pond, bent on braving not only the elements, but the predators that would badger them into flying off their nest. It was thrilling, though, to at least hope they would raise one or two goslings to adulthood. Indeed, they managed to do just that...and a lot more!
Today, there are hundreds and hundreds of geese on farms, on the river, in parks, all over in this region. And this is not amusing. I believe one should be wary of all unnatural introductions of wildlife into areas where they are not customary. Right now, the geese belong on a flyway heading waaaaay south! Instead, they fly between farms and the river, and are simply grain scavengers.
There was a movie made about a pilot and his small airplane that served as the "lead goose" as he trained goslings that had been hatched artificially, to regain their migratory instincts. The movie was entitled "C'mon Geese." It was fun to watch, but sad, too. The poor goslings were "imprinted" with the human touch, and as a result had lost their ability to follow what should have been their natural inclinations to travel south to north and back again. The pilot was successful, but the population explosions, now, have erased such valiant efforts to restore what nature intended.
C'mon geese! It's time to leave!