Skip to comments.CA: Hungry geese a peck of trouble for Humboldt Bay ranchers
Posted on 04/24/2005 8:44:16 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
EUREKA, Calif. (AP) - Honk if you're glad the geese are gone.
Humboldt Bay ranchers are overjoyed that hungry hordes of the messy fowl are finally on their way north to nest. Ravenous Aleutian cackling geese have been eating up their pasture.
The Aleutian geese, once an endangered species, now number at least 60,000 and many like to feast on the sweet spring grasses of the Humboldt Bay bottomlands.
They'll nest in the wind-chilled Aleutian Islands - then eventually head back to the land of the worried ranchers to fortify themselves again.
A survey last month found 10,000 of the chubby birds grazing on a 1/8240-acre ranch near Arcata.
The rancher, Peter Bussman, estimates he lost up to 60 percent of the grasses he needs to feed his livestock for the three to four months the birds were there.
In some pastures the birds chomped 10-inch-high grasses down to a mere two inches - then tackled the tender new shoots.
"Once they get short grass, they keep hitting it," Bussman said.
An analysis of 5,000 acres of pasture land in the Mad River bottoms found the geese were responsible for up to $450,000 in lost grazing.
Aleutian geese spend about 90 percent of their day eating.
Officials are trying to control the damage by increasing hunting of the birds and shooing them off private lands to wildlife refuges.
Oregon officials worry that such measures could scare the birds into their state, where the Aleutian geese are still an endangered species and can't be hunted.
The regeneration of the Aleutian geese population is a success story - for the birds, said Bussman. "Now we just have to find solutions to feed the geese."
Dennis, didn't you say once that Muscovy Ducks were good eating>
Muscovy duck is a gourmet item... and yes I've eaten some.
I need a couple of these birds in my yard after all the excess rain we got this year.
Thanks for the ping. Because these numbers got garbled in the intial post, I thought that this correction should be pointed out....that is alot of geese on one area.
Thursday or was it Friday, Rush Limbaugh was talking to someone from Calif. and he said ,"I was in Sacramento for four years and loved California, except for Humboldt County, well... there are a few good places, even in Humboldt County." LOL