Western Springs geese update

General birdwatching discussion, help with bird identification, and all other things relating to wild birds and birding in NZ that don't fit in one of the other forums.
Posts: 67
Joined: Sat Jan 25, 2014 10:52 am

Western Springs geese update

Postby Nakilad » Fri Nov 22, 2019 2:46 pm

Action at last by Auckland Council. Sounds like they've spent a bit of time formulating a plan to move them on. I also understand that contractors go through periodically and destroy eggs, so hopefully this will help control the population going forward. And hopefully they put new signs up too.

Vaughan Turner
Auckland based
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 10:18 am

Re: Western Springs geese update

Postby Parula » Sat Nov 23, 2019 8:38 am

I may have missed some details here but this sounds like a crazy plan. Firstly if the tran located geese are left fully winged they will be perfectly capable of flying back to Western Springs. Secondly the remaining population will very rapidly make up the lost numbers. Thirdly the translocations geese will quickly increase in numbers if they choose to stay! This sounds like an introduction programme to me. If you want to get rid of them, then get rid of them permanently. Geese don’t understand, neither are they interested, in having a ‘correct me population for a certain area.
Ian McLean
Posts: 129
Joined: Sat May 11, 2013 2:29 pm

Re: Western Springs geese update

Postby Ian McLean » Sun Nov 24, 2019 10:51 am

Hi there
This plan should help & is better than none, especially when combined with the no bird feeding signage that has been promised. A reality is that many of the feral geese at the park are incapable of flight & I have never personally seen any of them fly. Many suffer from such hideous malnutrition & angel wing (caused by their white bread diet) that they have probably been flightless for a majority of their lives. The birds flying back to Western Springs is a very small likelyhood, what is more likely is people "dumping" more of them at the park !

A lack of animal welfare is almost a kiwi tradition to many, it's up there with dumping sacks of rubbish on the side of the road ! Some people think nothing of dumping unwanted pets or domestic animals & Western Springs is a dumping ground for them. At Western Springs there various farmyard ducks of all types, chickens, black & white rabbits, dumped cats, the occasional Guinea Pig & Red Eared Slider Turtles. They have all been let loose there in the middle of the night to become someone else's problem & this is doubtless how many of the feral geese have made it there.

At Western Springs, the biggest issue if of course people feeding bread to the birds. It is a kiwi tradition that was probably acceptable in 1896, but in 2019, we should have realised by now that it is just plain bad for the birds. Feeding birds at the park is completely unnecessary, they don't need it, it is bad for their health & can kill them, it makes them aggressive, it causes a disgusting mess of feaces everywhere with salmonella a possible threat to human health, it contributes to botulism which provides a massive amount of work for volunteers to pick-up the dead & dying birds. Because of bird feeding at Western Springs the biodiversity is completely unbalanced in favour of both introduced & problematic native species such as: feral Geese, Mallard Ducks, Pukeko, Black Backed Gulls & Feral Pigeons. Other native & endemic species struggle to survive the chick killing hordes of Pukeko & Black Backed Gulls, as a result Grey Teal don't breed there & only the more aquatic young of Scaup & Coots actually make it to adulthood.

Birds New Zealand is keen to see a complete ban on feeding birds at Western Springs & elsewhere in Auckland. Education of the public is the key & we need councils to provide the detailed signage advising why we should not feed them. The Auckland Council have traditionally neglected the problem (I expect because they don't like telling people off), but since July we have been in discussion with them. I even spoke at a Waitemata Board meeting providing them with detailed reasoning asking for change. They took on board our advice & have promised to provide clear signage & improve the management at the park.

At present, we seem to have made some small progress, but what is needed is a generational change to have people stop feeding birds in this country. My concern is that Western Springs is in such a disgusting mess at the moment, that it will take something like an outbreak of salmonella infections for people & especially the media to take it seriously.

Western Springs bird feeding by Simon Runting #1.jpg
Western Springs feeding frenzy madness by Simon Runting
Western Springs bird feeding by Simon Runting #1.jpg (565.76 KiB) Viewed 657 times
Western Springs Angel Wing by Derek Tearne.jpg
Feral Goose with Angel Wing & distended stomach by Derek Teane
Western Springs Angel Wing by Derek Tearne.jpg (12.82 KiB) Viewed 657 times

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