I realized too late that I had forgotten my boots today, but it’s fine since the temperature is near freezing so all the moisture in the ground is frozen, making the ground stiff. Despite my hands being gloved, they are still super cold. I quickly force them in my pockets after zipping my jacket as far up as possible. I read the sign that’s near the biggest pool. It briefly described the goals of this wetland. While I read it I’m reminded of Doug Tallamy’s book. The sign says one of the goals is native plant diversity, which, as Tallamy explains will support more native animals, creating a much healthier ecosystem. As I was walking around the wetland last week, I got a feel about how big this area really was. Tallamy teaches us that it doesn’t take a huge area of native plants to support biodiversity, so I can’t even imagine what this transformation of this area into a marsh did for the area.
I didn’t know whether to expect the geese today. It was likely that the water could have been frozen. But, as it turned out, all three of them were in the water today. I couldn’t imagine getting into water that cold, but then again, I don’t have water resistant feathers covering my body. I try to move as close to the edge of the pond as possible without disturbing this family. As I observe them, I can tell that they’re doing the same to me, all of they’re eyes fixated on me and they’re long black necks being extended upwards as far as possible. Eventually they get tired of me, honking once before swimming off. I decide to leave early as well. The cold is starting to hurt my face, and for some reason, there were way more cars than usual and it’s kind of ruining things for me.
Once I get back home, I started to do some extra research on the geese. I was wondering why they were here when it was so cold and not lower south, but after looking it up, it appears that this is south for them. It also seems that they have recovered from the destruction of their habitat and overhunting.
In fact this species has recovered so well that they are now seen as more of a pest than anything. Initially I thought this was just a viewpoint, but, despite being a native species, these animals do have some environmental drawbacks. These birds seem to be extraordinarily suited for living in human made conditions. This means that they are able to roost and raise young near parking lots and golf courses, which are known for their high amount of runoff. This leads to large amounts of goose poop being included in this runoff. They’re even suspected of being a cause of increased fecal coliforms at beaches. It seems the U.S. has many methods to try and control their population like a longer hunting season, but I’m uncertain of how well these work. I remember saying last week how I liked these birds, but after reading all of this I think I’ve changed my opinion.