Ideas for Atascadero Lake geese prompt quite a response

Special to The TribuneApril 15, 2013 

Lon Allan

THE TRIBUNE

I can write protests against Walmart coming to Atascadero or the city’s Johnny Depp playing Tonto in the upcoming "Lone Ranger" movie, and my email and phone light up.

Such was the case in the piece about the problem of geese invading Atascadero Lake Park. I had a number of suggestions that I move out of the area to a place where I would not have to encounter the messy and noisy fowl — such as Arizona or New Mexico.

You wouldn’t believe how many ways you can be called, well, a “birdbrain.”

But I have to say the majority of those responding to the column agreed that the geese are a problem that should be dealt with.

Some suggested that we should be delighted that the geese, migratory birds, have chosen to stop off in Atascadero. The problem, however, is that they haven’t stopped to rest on their way to somewhere else; they’ve settled in.

Why leave? We have a pretty mild climate and they are cared for day and night, thereby making them lazy and no longer interested in flying off to someplace else. I was reminded of that by one writer, who wrote, “The geese become lazy and stop feeding on the algae. It is like giving your children the choice of candy or food. The geese take the easy way and stop foraging for food around the lake.”

Many readers also alluded to the over-abundance of other water fowl that are polluting the lake with their droppings and accelerating the deterioration of the water.

I got a delightful letter from two students at Hawthorne Elementary School in San Luis Obispo, Aradi Saligan and Oscar Castillo, who are part of Mrs. Nunno’s reading group, who had a suggestion of their own.

The third-graders had just read a book called “Go Away Geese” that focused on New York’s Central Park, which also had an issue with geese. Aradi and Oscar said New York solved its problem by hiring Geese Police to scare away the geese without hurting them. Evidently the Geese Police train dogs to work with geese or ducks instead of sheep. The dogs give the eye to the geese and they fly away. “We liked their ideas because they scared away all the geese and didn’t hurt them. We think goose poop is a problem and we hope Atascadero can solve this problem,” the two third-graders wrote.

Lon Allan has lived in Atascadero for nearly five decades and his column is published weekly. Reach Allan at 466-8529 or leallan@tcsn.net.

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