By Iride Aparicio

Photos Courtesy: Foster City Communications

FOSTER CITY CALIFORNIA-- Native to the arctic and temperate regions of North America, the Canada Geese or Canadian goose, is a migratory bird belonging to the Northern Hemisphere and found during migration in the Atlantic of northern Europe. The encyclopedia describes them as large waterfowl, heavy-bodied, and less aquatic that their relatives, the ducks and the swamp. Ecological, the birds provide benefits to plants and animals by serving as seeds' dispensers, eating seeds in one area and depositing in another when defecating.

The Canada Geese is also highly praised, because they are some of the few birds who are social, they migrate together in a V shape flight, are highly compatible with humans and seldom offensive toward people (except during their nesting season.) and they pair for life. During the waiting season, the couples build a nest on the ground and after the mother lays the eggs and incubates them during 24 to 30 days the male geese called Ganders become very protective of their family and the sole food provider gathering the grasses and sedges they eat and bringing them to her. And for the rest of the day, the Gander stay in guard next to his nest protecting it, until the gooselings are born and become independent. If the Gander detects danger, however, he goes into a defensive stage. He vibrate the feathers on his neck and utters a horn-like sound, over an over, until convinced that there is no more danger . As to celebrate, the Gander utters a victory sound which is repeated by his mate and goslings. The Canada Geese may be tamed, and they survive in captivity for years. .

The Canada Geese are migratory birds, but due to favorable conditions offered locally in California, a group of Canada Geese instead of migrating home, decide to become permanent residents in and around Foster City in San Mateo County, and after several years their reluctance to migrate had yielded an unsustainable rate of population growth in that city. The number of geese in Foster City has gone from 181 in the year 2020 to 323 in 2021, and this year's figures indicate that the numbers will tick even higher.

The  excessive concentration of geese, is now posing significant health risks  to Foster City residents. This year, the regular testing of their lagoon's water quality showed such high e-coli levels, attributed to goose droppings, that required beach closures.  This year also, Heal the Bay identified two Foster City beaches among the ten beaches most polluted in California. Trying to clean them, the city has already collected buckets (the size of garbage cans) of geese droppings.

According to official city documents, showed to us, a variety of measures have been attempted by Foster City to mitigate the health hazard posed by the geese. Among them:  using dogs, to harass and "stalk" the geese. Strobe lights, strategically placed at Leo J. Ryan Park, to scare them. And collecting their nests and keeping their eggs, to keep them from hatching to curtail reproduction.  There have been also installations of fence barriers to prevent the geese from entering the water, and using Liquid deterrents, repulsive to geese, applied to lawn areas,

Additionally, when many geese are present during the summer molting season, Foster City was power- washing their parks daily to ensure a suitable level of cleanliness, but because of water restrictions, the power washing has been reduced. As a last recourse. on July l8 the city decided to euthanize 100 geese.

Foster City Communication Manager Austin Walsh, who provided us with the pictures and information for this article, e-mailed to us the following statement:

"Foster City has an obligation to protect the community from potential health hazards posed by the overabundant Canada Goose population, while also continuing to offer safe and sanitary parks and open spaces. While the City understands the concerns regarding the decision to move forward with depredation, it has been determined that exercising the lethal option selectively and in conjunction with nonlethal alternatives is a necessary stop to address the poor water quality issues and quality of life concerns that have faced Foster City for years. There has been no time line established for when depredation may begin, and the matter will be considered by the City Council again, prior to any action being taken."  

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 Because according to Foster City Council's Email, no time line has yet established for the depredation (destruction) of these geese, Cultural World Bilingual would like to ask our readers if any of them knows of an aviary, anywhere within the United States, or of a group of birds' lovers, or a birds' sanctuary, or a farm, or a zoo, or a person willing to pick up the 100 geese that Foster city needs out of their confines, and move them to a different place. By doing this, that person o group will be helping the Foster City Council resolve its problem, and spare 100 Canada geese from dying.