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Greenbelt geese become issue for Idaho Falls

By Stephanie Hale-Lopez
Published On: May 15 2013 11:35:22 AM CDT
Updated On: May 15 2013 11:37:35 AM CDT

They may seem cute and harmless, but the geese at the Idaho Falls Greenbelt are actually a big problem.

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho -

Although the geese that live on the Idaho Falls Greenbelt seem cute and harmless, they are actually a big problem.

The issue is tied to the number of geese – in the hundreds – living on the Greenbelt. People feed the geese, which makes the birds want to stick around here and not move south, creating an unnatural environment for them that has some serious consequences.

Geese are considered migratory water foul, but the ones at the Greenbelt consider Idaho Falls their permanent home.

"What we've done here is create a situation where these birds have become stationary, resident birds. It's not good for the birds, and it's not good for the residents and their activities," said Gregg Losinski of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

It's against state code to feed geese, but its something that's not heavily enforced. Take a walk along the Greenbelt, and you'll notice the birds get plenty of bread from passers-by.

"Just feeding a bird bread is not a healthy diet,” said Losinski. “You're habituating them to a food source that isn't natural."

People's main complaint is not the geese themselves, but what they leave behind.

Bill Kimmel went for a stroll on the Greenbelt on Tuesday. He said the geese are taking over the area and creating a mess on walking trails.

"Basically it's uncontrolled feces. It creates a mess, it's hard to maneuver and get around," said Kimmel.

If the Greenbelt gets too populated with geese, Fish and Game will step in and do a round-up.

"The adults, which are habituated to the site, we'll take to a processor for urban poultry and they are then given to the needy," said Losinski.

During those round-ups, the goslings will be taken to another area, where they can hopefully learn how to migrate.

And it's not just the geese. Idaho Fish and Game said some of the ducks couldn't leave if they wanted to because they're so overweight, they can't fly.

And while you're down there, you may have noticed one particular goose on the Greenbelt with a blow dart in its neck. Fish and Game says it has been aware of the goose for a few weeks. Game officers have tried to catch it, but aside from the dart in the neck, it appears healthy.

The shot appears to have missed the bird's windpipe and gone through the neck muscles, but the bird seems to be adapting well. They will still try to catch it.

Fish and Game said it is against the law to injure a water fowl.

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