Canada goose is one of the most common species of waterfowl found in North America. They can be found in parking lots, urban parks, highways, golf courses, or even 2 feet from your house if you live close to a pond.
Canadian geese are regarded as urban pests because they tend to damage crops, cause car accidents, and scratch people. You must wonder why they are protected. Well, keep reading, and you will find out.
How Are Canadian Geese Protected
Canada geese are protected by the Migratory Birds Convention Act created in 1917 and updated in 1994. The act contained regulations that aim to protect migratory birds, their nests, and their eggs from destruction by hunting, wood harvesting, commercialization, and trafficking.
As of now, the Migratory Bird Act protects 1026 species but permits the hunting of several species of game birds such as Canada geese.
The act allows the government to create hunting seasons and issue permits to interested citizens. It is estimated that about 500,000 Canadian geese have been killed or captured in Canada by legal hunters.
The US has a similar law, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which prohibits any person from intentionally capturing, hunting, or killing any migratory bird except under the terms of a permit issued by the Department of Interior, U.S Fish, and Wildlife Service.
However, in some countries such as New Zealand, Canada Geese are no longer protected, and a permit is not necessary for their hunting.
Hunting Season Of Canada Geese In Canada
Every year, the Canadian government releases a schedule for the hunting and capturing of Canadian Geese. It usually lasts for 30-35 days, and the specific zones of hunting are communicated to the hunters beforehand.
The hunting comes with many restrictions as the hunters have to use licensed firearms, obey the limit of 2-3 birds per day, and hunt strictly within the allowed zones. Hunters that disobey the rules are arrested and fined.
Reasons For Protecting Canada Geese
Canada geese are protected for many reasons. Here are some of them.
1. They Are Migratory Birds.
For their breeding, Canada geese fly cross-country to find suitable locations for nesting and hatching. During winter, Canada geese travel long distances between countries to seek shelter from the weather.
As migratory birds move from location to location, they perform a role in the ecosystem, and exterminating them would be harmful to the environment. This is why the law requires registered hunting to allow for population control without the risk of eradication.
2. Pollination Of Plants And Pest Control
Canadian geese are grazers and are therefore active pollinators. In the process of feeding, they transfer pollen from plant to plant, and in a lot of cases, from farmland to farmland. Endangering such pollinators would have an adverse effect on farmlands close to their habitat.
Besides their ability to carry pollen, they also restrict the activities of pests such as worms, snails, rats, rabbits, eagles, and hawks. They are not strictly vegetarians, so they can eat worms, snails, and mice.
Their presence on farmland discourages the action of rats and rabbits. A goose’s presence does not deter large birds such as hawks and eagles, but the goose’s loud honk upon seeing these birds can save farm animals.
3. Food Sources
The world is one big food chain that progresses from herbivores to carnivores to omnivores and finally decomposers. As grazers, Canadian Geese are in the first level of the food chain and are necessary food sources to members of the other levels.
The extermination of species on one level would affect species on other levels. Though geese are large birds, they can also be food sources to larger birds, namely eagles.
4. Recreational Watching
Do you get excited when you see a flock of birds in V shape flying across your yard? If your answer is yes, you must understand why some people watch birds as a sort of recreation.
Therefore, it is important to protect birds such as Canada geese to delight bird enthusiasts.
5. Bird Rights
This arguably one of the more important reasons for protecting birds. Just like humans, animals should also have rights. This is why the Humane Society of the United States created a guide to help people get rid of geese without killing them.
The problem with hunting Canada geese recreationally is that, sometimes, the hunters have no use for them. The injured birds or carcasses are left abandoned. The government is trying to curb this habit by limiting the hunters to a certain number of birds per day.
Canada Geese have economic importance, especially to farmers. Their eyesight, loud sounds, and protective instincts make them ideal candidates to protect farm animals. They see three times better than humans and detect predators very fast.
Another benefit of Canada geese to farmers is that their droppings serve as fertilizer. It saves the farmer from purchasing expensive artificial fertilizer.
Canada geese can also be reared for a profit. Their eggs are four times bigger than chicken eggs and have great market value. The hard nature of their eggshells makes them perfect for painting and carving designs that proved difficult on fragile eggshells.
Finally, Canada geese economically benefit the farmer by acting as natural pest control. They eat insects and discourage most pests from approaching the farm.
The government earns from protecting Canada goose by selling permits to hunters. Some recreational watchers pay to watch the birds, while Landowners earn from hunters by allowing them to hunt on private lands.
Yes, Canada Geese are not endangered, but many of the currently endangered animals started this way. This is why measures are in place to protect them from unnecessary killing. Geese are no different from other birds or animals and should be given the space to grow and evolve.
If you can provide a secure environment for the Canadian geese in your neighborhood, please do so. If not, leave them in the wild to fend for themselves.