An estimated 180,000 snow geese decimating Richmond sports fields

Snow geese descend on city

They may make for photo and video eye candy, but a record-breaking number of snow geese has decimated Richmond sports fields.

According to the City of Richmond, the 2020/2021 season has been one of the worst years so far for damage to sports fields due to the annual migration.

As opposed to Canada geese, which generally just eat the blades of grass and poop, their white counterparts also dig up the roots for food, causing thousands of dollars’ worth of damage.

This is far from a new problem in the city, which has invested in programs over the years to woo the snow geese south to grasslands in Delta and also deploy volunteer dog hazers to shoo the birds off sports fields.

City spokesperson Clay Adams says the measures being used don’t seem to be as effective as they were, which has been aggravated this past winter by an estimated 180,000 snow geese arriving – up 40 per cent from the previous season and more than double from three years ago.

“Because the geese mainly go on fields at night, our flagging and dog hazing strategies are becoming less efficient than in the past,” explained Adams.

“Having said that, I am told we have generally seen fewer complaints over the past year, likely due to reduced use of sports fields because of COVID-19 and the geese generally landing at night when people don’t tend to see them.”

Adams said it’s difficult at the moment to quantify the cost to the city, in terms of repairs to the fields, noting that the snow geese will soon be heading back to Siberia for the summer.

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