NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – Why did the goose cross the road? To get food, of course. A flock of Canada Geese has taken over a neighborhood in New Hanover County – causing safety concerns and health hazards for neighbors.
Folks who live in the Silver Lake Road area near Monkey Junction say they've spotted more than 160 Canada geese roaming in their front yards and even on the street.
Jill Peleuses, a spokesperson for the Wild Bird and Garden Society says the population has nearly doubled over the past few years. Peleuses says the birds don't migrate. Instead, they breed and stay in the area. Some neighbors love the birds, but others think they're a nuisance.
Cheryl Langley has lived off Silver Lake Road for nearly 40 years. Twice a day, every day, she likes to feed the geese and ducks in her front yard.
"They act like they have feelings and know what's going on," Langley said. "I don't think they're stupid like everyone else does."
When feeding time is over, the geese make their trip across Silver Lake Road and get back to their homes on the water.
Not all the neighbors enjoy the company.
Wendy Strickland has lived in the area for 10 years. She had to put up a fence to keep the geese out of her yard. She says the geese come from across the street and have torn up her garden.
"All my plants have been eaten," Strickland said. "The whole patch is gone."
She says the birds destroyed more than $400 worth of her plants and her front yard is constantly packed full of waste left behind by the geese.
The problem is, there's nothing that Strickland or anyone else can do about it. Canada geese are protected by the Federal Wildlife Commission under the migratory birds act. That means that no one is allowed to regulate their population by causing harm to the birds.
Instead, Strickland says the cars driving by serve as population control.
"It's very much a safety hazard," Strickland said. "You can hear the ducks squealing and you know what happened."
Strickland says that people who feed the geese are partly responsible for them sticking around the area for so long. We checked with the North Carolina Wildlife Commission and it turns out that feeding wild birds is not illegal.
Officials estimate the Canada geese population could double in size by this time next year.
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