The large birds are undeniably distinctive. They're even sort of elegant when they saunter across a street en masse in their gray morning coats or when they perch, as they're wont to do on the parapets of downtown buildings, honking at passers-by.
The birds can see more than 180 degrees vertically and horizontally. Some have lived more than 20 years in the wild. They fly long and fast at a rate that would take them around the world in 40 days.
But some people wish the geese would just go away and stop pooping on everything.
Canada geese, protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and other laws, have become part of the local landscape, especially in the winter, when migratory flocks mingle with resident birds and populations swell.
The city's Parks and Recreation Department has worked to manage the geese since the 1990s, enlisting all kinds of measures, including loud noises and scarecrows - those coyote-like metal silhouettes that some geese appear to mock.
Other agencies use the scarecrows as well. The Idaho Transportation Department on State Street has the coyotes, as well as a scary-looking cat with an arched back. The groundskeepers have begun to arrange the cat and coyotes into wilderness tableaux, with one species chasing the other. The geese remain.
One hoped-for side effect of the city's off-leash dog program was to discourage geese from landing in local parks. The pilot program at Ann Morrison was a successful deterrent, said parks spokeswoman Amy Stahl. It will resume next winter.
The department also successfully used a trained dog to scare geese away from Morris Hill Cemetery. A dog also chases them out of Warm Springs Golf Course, Stahl said.
Last year, Parks and Rec got a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to control populations by shaking and oiling eggs in three city parks. The shaking and oiling, while labor-intensive, prevents the eggs from hatching. The experiment resulted in a significant decrease in hatchlings and is continuing this year. Crews are shaking or addling eggs this spring in Kathryn Albertson, Ann Morrison and Julia Davis parks, and at Morris Hill Cemetery, said Stahl.
Anna Webb: 377-6431