If you aren’t familiar with the expression “loose as a goose,” just visit an area inhabited by the waterfowl and there should be ample evidence to explain the basis of the analogy. It can be seen pretty much everywhere the geese go. And go they do. If only they were potty-trained …
There is some debate about how big a health risk geese present to humans. The Centers for Disease Control say salmonella may be on the birds or in fecal matter; unwashed hands could transfer it to the mouth. Other concerns have been raised, but bird lovers say evidence is lacking that geese have made people sick.
But there is no debate about the mess.
The city of Pell City this week passed an ordinance banning the feeding of geese on public property, a measure that Guntersville officials say had some effect on the problem there.
Some property owners on Logan Martin have sought permits from the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to shoot the birds to try to get rid of them, or to at least reduce their numbers. Permits are only issued after an inspection that determines whether a problem justifies extermination, and whether the area is one in which firearms can be used safely.
Within the city limits, it is illegal to discharge a firearm, but the mayor could call for a temporary exemption if he chooses to do so.
Capturing and relocating the birds doesn’t seem like a solution. They could simply fly back, or others could replace them. A product featuring a pole and a banner is sold as a goose repellant, but it isn’t clear how well that works. Loud noises have been suggested as a method to frighten geese away. Trapping and killing geese is also a possibility.
A public hearing is planned for Thursday at 6 p.m. in the council chamber at City Hall in Pell City, with public input welcome. We hope residents with ideas will participate to help the city’s leaders find a workable solution.
Regardless, a lake the size of Logan Martin is going to attract waterfowl. A long-term plan of action will be needed.