In response to Cheryl Stuckey’s concerns about Whispering Pines as a sanctuary for birds, I can say unequivocally that it is. The “Bird Sanctuary” designation you see on signs around the village refers to hunting, or lack thereof, within the limits of the municipality.

Our management of the non-native Canada goose population is necessary and has been an annual task for years. We have over 100 geese in the village, and this number is unlikely to change even given our springtime efforts.

These birds are the descendants of stocked Canadas from decades ago, brought into the Sandhills for hunting, most likely. Since they were hand-reared individuals, these geese never were taught where to go come springtime. So, although experiencing restlessness in late winter, they became a fixture on our lakes year round. Given their relatively long life span (easily 10 years) and reproductive potential (seven goslings a year is not unusual), numbers of Canada geese here grew quickly.

In no time, the birds also became accustomed to human activity and, thus, became a nuisance on the golf course, where fecal material became a mess and posed a health threat to golfers. Also, birds began regularly wandering into people’s yards and readily grazed on not only grass but all sorts of plantings, in addition to helping themselves to bird seed at feeding stations. Lastly, these geese were directly impacting water quality in places where they would linger. High fecal coliform levels are still detected, especially in times of low flow, most summers — around Thagard Lake primarily.

Control of Canada geese significantly benefits our native wildlife. Without taking action, both aquatic and adjacent terrestrial vegetation would be decimated.

Controlling the reproduction of geese is important — and the responsible thing to do.

Susan Campbell, wildlife ecologist, Whispering Pines

(4) comments

Patricia Punch

Dogs do work. I used to bring my dogs over to one of the courses in Whispering Pines a couple times per day. Then the course started putting up ropes and it became very dangerous for my dogs to chase the geese so I stopped doing it.

Jim Tomashoff

I think Canadian Geese are subject to an International Treaty the prohibits the culling of birds that migrate across international borders, as many, but not all, Canadian Geese do. The ones that don't migrate, in theory, would not be so protected. The problem is in telling them apart. To me they all look alike. Maybe it would be possible to discriminate the birds that are protected from the birds that are not. Would this work: Walk up to a given goose with a six-iron, or possibly a five-iron behind your back. Ask it, "Are you from Canada, 'ey?" If it doesn't answer, whack it with said iron. Problem solved?

Conrad Meyer

First of all Jim, they are Canada Geese, not Canadian Geese.
Second, it is easy to determine which geese migrate. Simply wait until they have migrated north and the remaining ones are the "lazy residents".
Third, there is actually a hunting season for resident geese in September. You can shoot up to 15 geese per day during the 30 day season.

North Carolina has recently experienced an explosion in resident geese. 4,600 nuisance geese were relocated here in the mid- '80s from up north which was a huge mistake. Unfortunately, with few predators and protected status, the population has ballooned to well over 100,000 and are now out of control.

I hope you will consider helping to solve the problem instead of joking about it.

Jim Tomashoff

When referring to them in the 3rd person they aren't "Canadian"? OK, my bad. The club I belonged to for twenty years, which is located in the Virginia suburbs of D.C. had to deal with Canada Geese for many years. We were told by authorities that we could not kill them. All we were allowed to do was either "oil" their eggs to prevent them from hatching, or hire a "goose dog" to chase them away. We tried the former without any success in reducing their numbers. So we finally hired a dog (yes, hired not bought) for several thousand dollars a year. That did the trick. Pinehurst Resort does the same thing to control these geese and there does not seem to be much of a problem with goose droppings on any of its courses. Maybe that is a possible solution to the problem you face. Just a thought.

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