How geese came to dominate our urban landscapes

DM

If you’re seeing a lot of geese in your neighbourhood this summer, you’re not alone. These large, black-necked birds have become ubiquitous in Canadian cities. And although these “honkers” are viewed by many as urban pests, the fact is that not too long ago, they were nearly extinct in North America. “Canada geese are one of the greatest conservation success stories ever — to the point where you were lucky to find a goose back in the ’50s, and now we’re probably well over seven million geese estimated in North America,” said Ralph Toninger, associate director of the restoration and resource management group with the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. At the turn of the 20th century, unregulated hunting drove Canada geese to the brink of extinction from their native habitats in North America. This prompted wildlife officials to put in place a conservation plan and reintroduce the birds to their traditional environments.

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