I actually don’t mind the geese on campus

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Canada Goose

Before you get upset, give me a second to explain myself. Of course, the geese on campus are annoying and I hate doing the Dune sandwalk to avoid goose poop as much as anyone. There is almost nothing more irritating than dragging yourself out of bed for an 8:30 a.m. class and having to take a different route because a gaggle of geese have claimed the quad as their own.

Despite the inconveniences and horror that geese cause around Wilfrid Laurier University’s Waterloo campus, it is impossible to deny that they play a vital role in Canada’s culture and ecosystem. If you haven’t already noticed, the word “Canada” is literally in their name. This isn’t just because Canadians and Canada geese have a lot in common, especially volume, hunger and driving skill.

In fact, Canada geese are native to North America and are deeply ingrained in Canadian culture.

While Laurier sees gaggles of geese every year, so do many other universities. That’s another point in favour
of Canada geese: A group is called a gaggle. I’ve already said it three times in this article and I can guarantee I’ll use it again.

The Canada goose doesn’t just serve cultural purposes, it is also beneficial for the environment- Jean-Francois Giroux, an associate professor of biological sciences at the University of Quebec in Montreal, told CTV News that Canada geese eat various seeds that they then spread and fertilize through their feces. So while we see their droppings as a nuisance, wild plants see them as a crucial part of their lifecycle.

Canada geese also play a role in the food chain. They spread seeds and small organisms such as plankton, and their young and eggs serve as food sources for larger predators like foxes and coyotes.

Now, I know what everyone’s wondering. If Canada geese are so important, why are they so rude?

You could probably make a case that their celebrity status has gone straight to their heads (beaks?), but there’s a simpler answer that’s hard to swallow.

It’s kind of our fault. While geese are aggressive, they still have a lot of natural predators. As a result, they tend to gravitate towards safe areas where they can avoid being eaten. A lot of the time, these areas end up being man-made and urbanized, as they are free to snack on grass without having to keep looking over their shoulder.

Do geese have shoulders? If they do, can they turn their head that far?

Anyway, naturally, geese end up around humans. We’ve made large areas free of predators where geese can eat until they’re full. Where we see a soccer field, a goose sees a safe area that doubles as a giant buffet.

Since geese feel so safe in urban areas, they tend to lay their eggs there. Geese are the most aggressive when they’ve been fed by humans and when they’re protecting their nests. When a goose hisses at you, it’s not just to freak you out, they’re protecting their nest.

I understand that Canada geese can be scary and annoying, but they do so much more than we realize. If I haven’t lost you by now, I hope you look at geese differently and respect any gaggles you come across.


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