Outdoors

Morning golfers face disgruntled geese, volunteers

Mikal Moore, Washington Fish and Wildlife Department East Side waterfowl specialist, orchestrates a Canada goose banding project at Qualchan Golf Course on June 24, 2009, for her research on the migration habits of urban geese. 
 (Rich Landers / The Spokesman-Review)
Mikal Moore, Washington Fish and Wildlife Department East Side waterfowl specialist, orchestrates a Canada goose banding project at Qualchan Golf Course on June 24, 2009, for her research on the migration habits of urban geese. (Rich Landers / The Spokesman-Review)

The first golfers at Qualchan Golf Course this morning had to play through a disgruntled gaggle of 24 Canada geese and a swarm of volunteers helping a research study.

Washington Fish and Wildlife Department researchers made the predawn strike to round up the young geese so they could be marked with neck bands and leg bands.

Then the birds were released to resume feeding and leaving their mark on the green grass up from Hangman Creek.

The roundup was timed for a two-week window when the adult geese are molting and cannot fly. Using fence panels, the volunteers moved in and formed a corral around the geese, which simply huddled together in a group with their goslings and surrendered.

The study, in its third year around Spokane, is trying to determine if urban geese are learning to avoid guns and migration by taking up permanent residence around cities.

There’s not enough data yet to define a pattern, said researcher Mikal Moore. “But we do know that many of the yearling geese from Spokane head to Canada where they are harvested during September hunting seasons in Alberta and Saskatchewan.”



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