Tracking Geese
March 8, 2004 7:18 AM   Subscribe

Geese w/ research collars! I saw two last Wednesday. So far I cannot locate the program of which they are a part, nor has any program returned my e-mails.

Is anyone here familair with the various Canada Geese migratory collaring/banding projects out there?

Most of these tracking programs ask for people to respond when they see the tags, but I'm having trouble finding the right program to which to respond.

What?: Two healthy adult common Humboldt or Western Canada geese, obviously mates, both with white collars like this (but not so tight), in a group of four, close to a wooded area of Solon, OH, which is rife with ponds and fields and woods and wildlife and Metroparks. I did not see the flock of which the group of four were a part. There were no goslings, unless the other two members of the group were nearly-grown offspring.

The tags looked very much like this collar (pictured here on a swan.)

Tag number = 2F6M on a white (or maybe VERY VERY faded yellow) collar. I was only able to see one tag.

What surveys have I looked into? Well, they weren't mute swans. This survey points you to a phone# which takes you to a webpage which only accepts numeric codes (no letters.) This major Canada initiative I looked into does not use white collars, uses only 3 digits, and is involved with Snow geese. Etc etc!

This is a possibility, as the form accepts alpha-numeric codes, but I have had no response so far.

I'm fascinated and curious to know details. I've never seen a research-tagged animal in the wild before. As always, thanks in advance, AskMe.
posted by Shane to Science & Nature (3 answers total)
Completely irrelevant, but shouldn't it be SImoreDE?
posted by twine42 at 8:32 AM on March 8, 2004

It's a combination of migratory analysis and population control. As the name implies, they come all the way from the Northern border of the U.S. towards the South, making an interesting migration study. There has also been a need in populated areas to moinitor just how many geese are taking over the town.

C-Geese were becomming an outright vermin in Northern New Jersey a few years ago, as they flocked to areas like malls which had huge grassland areas (and in one case a "stream" made by drainage systems) to form an annual community.

The problem is that the geese are huge. The wingspan of an adult male Canada Goose can exceed five feet, and they usually travel in groups which had become rather aggressive. At the Garden State Plaza mall in Paramus, NJ, there have been reports of some geese during hatching season attacking shoppers in the parking lot, and in some cases, cars. (I once was stopped in the parking lot because a goose stepped into the middle of the lane and stood there as- I shit you not- his family crossed the street.)

The other, other problem is their poop. There's a lot of it. And it's green, and disgusting to look at and smell. When there's too many geese, there's too much poop, and when the poop isn't in the ground but on surfaces like cement and asphalt, it becomes a health hazard.

I've seen the collars you talk about at the mall: likely the researchers want to find out two major things about the geese: 1. where, exactly, in the U.S., the geese are going, and 2. how many of them go to that place. If either of those answers reaches abundance for a specific area (for example, northern New Jersey,) then the local governments have to do something about it, such as a few years ago, when New Jersey decided to capture many of the geese en masse and feed them.... to the homeless, that is.

By identifying where the geese come from and where they are going, conservationists can try to manipulate the migrations exactly where they go. Just five miles east of Paramus and its malls is the Flat Rock Brook nature conservatory, where eventually, some hope, the geese will learn is a much better place to travel to, with a higher adundance of lakes and a complete lack of Ford F-150s.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:44 AM on March 8, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks, excoozipher. So, this could be pop. control OR conservation? Interesting. That might explain why I can't find a website on it.

I once was stopped in the parking lot because a goose stepped into the middle of the lane and stood there as- I shit you not- his family crossed the street.

Heh! The family/flock-thing is so common around here that mostly the whole line of held-up traffic is just amused, although the occasional fuppy (is that right: "f-ing yuppy"?), late for a bizness meeting, swears and honks (for all the damn good it does him). And fields (often golf courses) of gooshite are common here; I have to watch doggie very closely on walks thru' 'em or she, um... snacks.
posted by Shane at 9:06 AM on March 8, 2004

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