Wednesday, April 13, 2016

I'm King of the, Pond! Canada Goose at CSU Stanislaus

So here's a familiar bird. It's so familiar and widespread around these parts that I hadn't thought to post pictures of it on this blog yet. It's a Canada Goose (Branta canadensis). I thought of it today because I was meditating and considering deep philosophical issues (ahem, daydreaming) in my office when I noticed a large bird on top of the adjacent building, sitting where a hawk might normally perch.
I tend to think of these birds as denizens of lawns and ponds, not majestic perches above the landscape. Then again, Canada Geese are more likely than others to think outside the box. They used to pretty much exclusively migrate north for the summer (and many still do), but some find urban areas much to their liking, due to a year-round supply of food and water. Their populations have grown to the extent that in many locales they are considered pests, both because of fouling the grass with their droppings, but also because they can be aggressive and pack a mean bite.
On the CSU campus where I teach a part-time course they caused enough of a problem that the management has brought in specially trained dogs to harass and haze the birds so they'll go elsewhere. I suppose it is working to some extent because I don't generally see more than half a dozen at a time. But it's interesting how they've learned to perch on their "cliffs" beyond the reach of any dogs...

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