Love ’em or Hate ’em, Silver Lake’s Resident Geese Are Here to Stay

beloved geese, geese, goose, goose poop, local, love hate, minnesota, olmsted county, park, rochester, Silver Lake

I’ve been a Minnesota resident my entire life.  After spending my first 16 years in Rochester, I moved away for a few years, and found myself back here to raise my family.  There are many things I love about this city.  Down by the Riverside Concerts.  Mayo Clinic as our primary health care provider – as well as my husband’s employer.  Fun craft breweries.  And autumn.  I do love a good MN autumn day. 

And of course, the geese.
  
Yes, I love the geese.  Even though they’re a nuisance and  they leave an enormous mess.  They’re not friendly, and frankly, unless they’re fresh from the egg, they’re not all that cute either, but I love them.  They’re part of our city.  They’re part of my childhood.  My own children grew up feeding the geese.  This was many many years ago – before Google and Facebook taught us that bread and corn are not good for birds.  Long before the shoreline restoration project began, one of our favorite evening activities was to bring our stale bread and maybe a couple quarters to purchase some corn from the feeders.  Just so that we could navigate the droppings to get close enough for our young sons to drop the food and giggle as the birds surrounded them.  
 
The other day, I was driving on the east side of the lake, near the park, when the geese began crossing the road.  (it seems there should be a joke in there, but alas, it’s just another day in the life of being a Rochester resident.)  These geese were taking their time.  There were many young ones waddling along, all in all there were probably 30-50 of them trying to cross.  Now hey, I’m in their backyard.  This is their turf, I stopped my car, to watch and wait.  From the other direction, another car rapidly came along, and for a moment, I didn’t think he was going to stop.  He eventually slowed, and after realizing they had no fear of him or his car, and were in no hurry to clear the road, he came to a stop.  But not for long.  He began to creep his car forward, nearly hitting a few of them all while visually using words no elementary student should hear.  I wasn’t sure whether to gasp in horror or laugh at this mad man.  I mean, they’re geese.  Doing their geese thing.  Thankfully he didn’t hit any of them, and his moving car did indeed discourage some of the geese to begin crossing, which allowed me to pass as well.  As I drove by I looked in my rear view mirror, and sure enough, the migration across the road had resumed. 
 
I know many residents have a love hate relationship with my beloved geese.  In fact, I don’t think I’m wrong in saying that some just have a hate hate relationship with them.  If I’m honest, I don’t frequent the entire Silver Lake loop anymore in order to avoid the messes they leave behind.  I understand that some would like to be able to enjoy the *one* lake in Olmsted county in ways that wouldn’t require an evening in the hospital.  Sure, a dip in the water would be fun – sans geese.  Gone are the days of children feeding the geese.  No more can we walk up to the shore and watch them swim up to the edge to eat some of the goodies from the kids.  
 
The geese are a Rochester staple.  My husband worked at the paddle boats ten years ago, and he was able to meet many many visitors who made it down to Silver Lake *just* so they could see the geese.  I like to think they’re our version of giraffes and koalas.  I think I read once that the buffer zone of native plants would offer an opportunity for predators to prey on the geese – and in turn decreasing their population.  I’m not sure if that actually happened – there seem to be just as many geese as before.  And in this Rochester native’s opinion.  That’s A-ok.
 
 
 

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