Canada Goose Roundup

Along with about 20 other volunteers, I spent yesterday afternoon helping the Chew Valley Ringing Station team with their annual Canada goose round-up. Each year, when the geese are moulting and so cannot fly, boats herd about 100-200 birds into a pen for ringing and release.

Canada geese in their temporary pen

Most of the volunteers acted as ‘runners’, handling the geese while trained ringers weighed and fitted them with new rings.

As I learned, cradling a Canada goose under your arm allows complete control over the legs and wings, which protects you from scratches to the front.  The downside of this stance is that both your flank and upper arm are left at the mercy of the [now vengeful] bird’s long, slender neck – on the end of which is a bill that can bite you. And bite you it will.

Canada goose being carried by a nervous volunteer

Weighing a Canada goose









With the plentiful volunteers, we worked our way through the c. 120 geese fairly quickly, all of us sustaining a few bruises from the biting. Most of us were a little bit apprehensive about the more feisty individuals, and the final goose left in the pen seemed particularly displeased with the situation as it stood in a corner – neck arched and mouse agape.

“Careful, this one’s a hisser”, explained one of the wranglers inside the pen, whose role it was to catch and hand over geese to runners. Fortunately, the hisser calmed down once in hand!

Releasing a goose

All of the geese were released safely back onto the lake, many with new rings in place and about 30 being re-catches.


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