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MailTribune.com
  • Canada geese are now year-round residents

  • I just saw a big flock of geese fly over and wonder if they are already flying north. Is this unusual for July? And no, I will not accept that it was a figment of my imagination. My imagination doesn't honk (out loud).
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  • I just saw a big flock of geese fly over and wonder if they are already flying north. Is this unusual for July? And no, I will not accept that it was a figment of my imagination. My imagination doesn't honk (out loud).
    — Nancy F., Central Point
    Clearly, Nancy, those overhead honkers were not imagined. But then again, no one would have imagined 25 years ago that you'd see a big flock of Canada geese flying over the Rogue Valley in the middle of summer.
    What you saw are part of the valley's skyrocketing population of resident Canada geese that live year-round here, says Mark Vargas, an Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife wildlife biologist in White City.
    "They are resident geese, and there are lots of them," Vargas says.
    They now are a mix of young-of-the-year birds and adult birds, Vargas says.
    "The young ones are just getting their feathers and starting to fly," Vargas says. "They're just hopping from lake to lake and from field to field."
    This phenomenon of year-round goose residents began in earnest about 20 years ago as more and more birds decided not to make the routine flights between Mexico and Canada.
    More became year-round residents and their offspring followed suit.
    Now, they are so prevalent that they are considered nuisances at area parks, golf courses and other open green spaces littered with goose poop.
    No one knows exactly why these birds turned into year-rounders here, Vargas says. The most likely reason is a combination of more nesting and rearing habitat, plenty of unmowed fields and the fact that these "city geese," as they are sometimes called, can't be hunted in city limits and are rarely hazed, Vargas says.
    Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.
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