theadanews.com - Ada, Oklahoma

July 17, 2011

Please don’t feed the geese

Lone Beasley Publisher
The Ada News

Ada —  

Ada has an illegal alien problem, but it has nothing to do with migration from south of the border. In fact, our issue originates just the other side of America’s border to the north and it is within our control to eliminate the problem by resisting the urge to feed these invaders.

Canadian Geese in Wintersmith Park are the culprits and their visas have run out. Instead of flying on their merry way to points south they are hanging around and more than making a nuisance of themselves to homeowners. They represent a genuine health hazard.

The solution? Visitors and even some park homeowners need to stop ignoring the “Do Not Feed the Geese” signs.

Geese are so numerous that residents report them moving in phalanxes numbering 150 or more. Feces dropped by that many birds is enough reason to want them to be on their way. But that’s only the outer edge of the problem.

Goose feces can contaminate soil and give people histoplasmosis. If that sounds bad, it is. It’s a lung disease. Droppings can carry salmonella, which causes diarrhea, vomiting, fever and chills. Children who touch droppings run the risk of developing giardia, which can cause cramping, diarrhea, fatigue and weight loss.

Don‘t feel sorry for them. Their distant cousins, ducks, come in and leave. Canadian Geese are the bird version of freeloaders. As long as a free and easy meal is available, they stay put.

Randy McFarlin, Ada parks and public facilities director, said Canadian Geese are a protected species. Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation officials have told city officials the goose population needs to be managed by getting them back to their natural migration patterns.

“The best thing we can do is encourage them to move on as quickly as possible,” McFarlin said.

That won’t happen as long as kind hearted, well intentioned park visitors keep feeding them.

— Loné Beasley