Let's talk about geese babies

Campus Living alerts UB residents of geese nesting season

On April 22, 2014

  • A goose nest located in the walkway of the Fargo parking lot is surrounded by yellow caution tape to warn students of the geese’s mating season. Chad Cooper, The Spectrum
  • Ernest Cheung, a junior health and human services major, took a photo of a goose at a doorway of his Flint Village apartment because the bird refused to move. Courtesy of Ernest Cheung

Spring - a season for cherry blossoms, greener grass, less clothing and the creation of baby geese.

On Friday, Campus Living sent an email to students living on campus, alerting them to be cautious of the geese during their mating season. For UB's residential Canadian geese, the mating season has begun, bringing more baby birds to campus.

Canadian geese are territorial and protective. Students should be wary of provoking the birds, as they may feel defensive and aggressive, according to Campus Living.

Many students feel the geese are a year-round nuisance - the birds' mating season hardly changes many students' disposition. Geese attacks are rare, but the fear of attack keeps some on guard.

Ernest Cheung, a junior health and human services major, was leaving his apartment at Flint Village when he encountered a goose standing outside of the exit he normally uses.

"It was just chilling there nonchalantly," Cheung said. "I was waiting for it to move. But it stood there for a good two minutes before I got frustrated and used another exit, causing me to be late for class."

Students like Nick Janson, a freshman communication design major, take extra precautions to steer clear of the birds during this season, going so far as to run away from the menacing birds.

"I was walking by the [Center for the Arts] and [a goose] squawked at me, so I said, 'back off,'" Janson explained.

This year, UB has taken the initiative to alert students of the nests by putting caution tape around them. It is illegal to move a goose's nest or its eggs without a federal permit under the Federal Migratory Act of 1918, according to the additional information Campus Living provided in its email to on-campus students.

Victoria Hellman-Koester, assistant director for residential life, said she has noticed geese chasing students more often in the past two years.

A problematic nest in Fargo parking lot last spring sparked Campus Living to alert students about the geese's mating season this year. Hellman-Koester recalls her co-worker, Christina Liang, having concerns about students being chased by geese near the dorms.

"Because of the recent construction, they're becoming more aggressive because we're destroying their habitat," Hellman-Koester said.

She believes this may be the reason why there are so many geese nests in parking lots. Alerting students can help prevent possible geese attacks, she said.

Even so, students are still feeling the effects of geese nests in their everyday lives.

"Sometimes when I'm walking from my dorm toward the Spaulding parking lot, a lot of their nests are close by so they'll hiss at me," said Lucas Kramer, a freshman intended business major.

The birds have been such an integral part of daily UB life they prompted the creation of a Twitter handle, "UB_Geese," two years ago. Though now inactive, the account was dedicated to geese encounters. The handle made references to the everyday annoyances students face with the birds.

With tweets like, "Oh, you want sleep? TOO BAD! #Brightandearly #Yolo," students found amusement in the early morning wake-up calls attributed to the birds.

Diana Moore, a senior health and human services major, recalls when a goose laid an egg in the student pathway of Greiner's parking lot during her sophomore year. Although there was caution tape around the nest, nearby parking spaces were still claimed by the goose.

Moore was forced to park next to the nest one night when it was pouring rain; it was the only spot available. She was met with a hissing goose on the driver's side of her car and was forced to climb out of the passenger door and run away.

Other students have had altercations with geese in closer quarters.

Louis Galarza, a senior accounting major, has had first-hand experience with a goose nest at his doorstep. Galarza was living in Porter when a goose laid its nest directly outside the main building entrance. Whenever students would try to leave the building, the goose would become defensive, he said.

"In one case, I left the building and the goose wasn't on top of the nest, but as soon as it saw me it came flying from across the field and starting making noises at me," Galarza said in an email.

He added before the goose built its nest outside of his dorm, he did not know geese were vicious and territorial birds. After the incident, however, Galarza views them as "extremely territorial and vicious even when you don't approach their nests."

Hellman-Koester recommends students not antagonize the birds, as both the mother and father geese are territorial and protective of their eggs and baby geese once they hatch.

email: news@ubspectrum.com

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