The Goose that Conquered America

The Canada goose is a nuisance. But you might not realize how it got that way.
If you’ve played on a soccer field or strolled past a golf course in the United States, you’ve doubtless seen gaggles of Canada geese terrorizing the public space. These geese were actually put here by state agencies in the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s as part of public programs to create Canada goose populations after nearly hunting the bird to extinction. Because these birds are all protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, it proves surprisingly difficult to get the geese to leave. There are some methods of geese removal, like egg oiling, or addling, that stop new geese from hatching. It’s a lot of effort, but it works. Still, these Canada geese illustrate some of the unintended consequences that happened when people tried to foster flocks in the last half-century.