Goose Guardians

I was in Dalton today visiting my parents. A Barrow extension to this trip saw me watch the soccer team lose a friendly in the rain, and my completion of the monthly wetland bird survey for Ormsgill Reservoir. There were a few Greylag and Canada Geese on the rezza, and today I am writing about a community initiative to protect them.

The feral geese that live in the vicinity of the Holker Street football ground often go in for road crossings at this time of year. This can be to explore other areas of grazing, or to move youngsters between smaller nest sites like Cocken Lake and the larger expanses of water where birds gather to moult.

Birds not inclined to fly and busy roads are not a good mix at the best of times. But to be blunt about it the situation in Ormsgill and Channelside is compounded by psychopaths who deliberately mow down these birds for kicks. If that sounds like a harsh judgement given the scope for accidental collisions, bear in mind witnesses have seen drivers deliberately speed up to make sure they hit them. Not too far away people have also been seen throwing chips into the carriageway to try and get gulls mowed down.

The last couple of years though have seen an upwelling of community action to support the birds. This year a crowdfunding campaign has taken place to enable posters to be displayed visibly on the roads most favoured by the geese. The picture at the top of the blog is one I took today on Devonshire Road. Of course these posters are more likely to be effective on inadvertent speeding than malice but it’s great to see something being done to protect urban wildlife.

It’s not just posters, people are actively helping the birds to cross roads. This picture today from the ‘Beauty of Barrow-in-Furness’ Facebook group of Asda employees doing their bit has so far attracted nearly 500 likes. A comment attached saying ‘great to see kindness instead of cruelty stories’ summed it up nicely.

Feral Greylags (and a Snow Goose of unknown origin) from my archives

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