Dozens of aggressive geese relocated from Salt Lake area parks

Jun 5, 2018, 5:58 PM | Updated: Jun 6, 2018, 6:49 am

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources has been rounding up geese up on the gold courses and parks along the Wasatch Front, and relocating them to wildlife management areas.

About a dozen years ago, you could hardly play a round of golf in Salt Lake County without competing with a gaggle of geese. The birds have become less of a nuisance around town with the DWR program, and the Canada Geese population has been healthier out on the wetlands on the edge of the Great Salt Lake.

There have been many complaints over the years about bad bird behavior and geese droppings on the links and at the parks. Many people have reported confrontations with the birds.

“They’re aggressive. When they have their young they’re really protective. So, they would chase kids down,” said Rich Hansen, the DWR migratory bird banding coordinator.

Wildlife biologists and a group of volunteers rounded up 34 adults and 60 young geese at 9 different locations in Salt Lake County Tuesday.

“It’s as easy as that,” said Hansen after he had helped the group corner a couple dozen geese at Wheeler Farm in Murray. “That’s exactly what we wanted to do.”

Hunter Cornia, a 13-year-old from the Ogden area, has helped with the relocation for 6 years, along with a number of other kids and their families

“Bread makes them sick,” said Hunter. “Getting them out of these areas is essential for their health, and not only that, everybody else’s health.”

After they rounded up the birds, the wildlife biologists determined the sex and the age of each goose and put an aluminum band on them.

“To tell us survival rates, mortality rates, migration patterns,” said Hansen.

All of that information was entered into a national bird banding database.

“We will separate the adults and put them in a trailer that will go to Vernal,” said Hansen. “We will put the young in a trailer that will go to Ogden Bay.”

When they release the young birds with wild geese already in the freshwater wetlands on the edge of the Great Salt Lake, the young birds will imprint on the wild birds, stay out of the city and migrate with other wild geese.

A juvenile goose prepares to be relocated to a wildlife area near the Great Salt Lake.

After 13 years of rounding up geese, the program has made a substantial difference for the golf courses and parks, and for the geese.

“We’ve gone from thousands of birds in the city to 500 or 600 in the entire valley,” said Hansen.

The program has relocated more than 6000 adults, and 6000 young geese over the last dozen years.

“Less than 1 percent of the young have returned to the city,” said Hansen. “So, we’ve made great progress.”

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Dozens of aggressive geese relocated from Salt Lake area parks