More geese choosing urban areas to call home
Local researchers at the University of Illinois say more geese are choosing urban areas to call home.
With man-made ponds, federalized lawns and no predators, the geese are choosing to stay and not migrate.
In Champaign-Urbana, people say it’s almost an everyday occurrence to wait for a family of geese to cross the street.
“They are everywhere anytime you try to crossover into the little shopping districts," said Cinda Simmers.
U of I’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences has been studying geese for years. They use tracking devices to follow the migration of geese in the area, especially in Chicago.
"Same things we kind of find aesthetically pleasing are really good for geese, like beautiful ponds and big green lawns," said researcher Ryan Askren.
With thousands of geese in the area, it can become a health risk with public pools and lakes. It can also cause safety concerns when it comes to driving and at airports.
“Geese crossing roads can cause auto accidents. That's a really big concern,” Askren said. “Then the aviation safety is a big one. Everyone is familiar with the miracle on the Hudson."
That's when a group of geese brought down a plane in New York on the Hudson River.
Without a lot of predators in the area, the geese aren't going anywhere either.
“There really is not much in terms of natural mortality or things that will kill and eat geese in urban areas," Askren said.
Local businesses have tired different tactics to manage the geese when they become aggressive. But since geese are protected by the federal government, there isn't much that can be done.
Some residents say they don't mind taking the extra time to let them cross
“I just always stop for them and let them be,” said Allie Barlas. “They are just little geese. They don't know."
Like deer, geese are protected, which means they can't be killed expect during hunting season.
Officials also warn not to feed the geese because it's harmful to them and will attract more.
You can read more about the study here.