OGDEN A North Ogden family says an unprecedented number of Canada geese are calling their family farm home this year after being left with few other places to go because of rapid growth in the area.
The Dan Carter family says it can usually count nearly 1,000 Canada geese on their 16-acre farm.
"I just hope they'll leave something behind to grow," said Gaye Carter. The geese are an annual event, usually numbering between 200 and 300, but this year is exceptional, Dan Carter said. "They're coming here because they don't have any other place to go," he said. "They've been put off of the golf course. They won't let them land there, and all the other fields have houses on them now."
Mark Hadley, a spokesman for the Utah Department of Wildlife Resources, said the Carters' problem is part of a growing trend.
"We are seeing Canada geese coming into more urban types of areas," he said. "It's been going on for a while now." The birds adapt easily, he said, and don't mind using a park or golf course instead of an open field. Sometimes, though, that creates problems.
"The main challenge with the geese, more than anything else, is the droppings," Hadley said. Because of complaints, the DWR trapped more than 1,000 geese last year and relocated them outside of Corinne and Delta, he said. When relocation isn't an option, landowners can use blank rounds in a shotgun to scare away the unwanted birds. A nearby golf course started using the noisemakers to get rid of the birds, Dan Carter said. He said that's why he has five times as many geese on his land this year. "It's nice to have them when it's just 200 or 300, but with this many, it's too much," he said. "If everybody shared it, it wouldn't be so bad." Unfortunately for the Carters, the geese aren't going anywhere. Local residents have noticed, too.
"Over the last couple of days, we've probably had 300 to 400 people stop by," she said. "I've been thinking of asking for a $5 donation to pay for what the geese are eating."