Give Canada geese at Okanagan beaches a break

LETTER: Tour busses, full of photographers, local goose guides and an annual goose festival

For years now I have been going to Kin Beach to take photographs, fall, winter and spring. The geese there bring me great joy. I love their social worlds. I love their craziness. I love their wonky flying. I love their honking. I love the way they peel away to the orchards and then honk noisily back. I love that they are wild and choose to live among us because it’s still better here than elsewhere.

See: Geese continue to run amok at Vernon park

As for their pooping, I wear boots. I watch where I walk. It is their beach. They make my life rich. And not just me. Hundreds of people use the beach to watch the geese, every week, month upon month.

If goose populations are getting out of hand, then there are larger environmental reasons for that. Simply abusing the geese is not going to solve those.

We should start with those problems and thank the geese for the warning honk.

Changing human settlement patterns across Western North America is out of our control. We could encourage more eagles, loons and other predators, though. We could even build goose habitat away from the beach.

See: ‘Planet of the Geese’

Positively speaking, all the road snow and sand dumped near the creek every winter that melts every spring and flows downstream is making a fine new estuary in Okanagan Lake. From 100 gulls nine years ago to nearly 1,000 waterfowl of all kinds all winter long, with a lagoon and everything, that’s a great success story of what we can do. Why can’t it be 10,000 birds? I’m thinking tour busses here, full of photographers from around the world, local goose guides and an annual goose festival.

Let’s embrace climate change. The geese are.

Harold Rhenisch

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