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16 Mar

A “Miracle on the Hudson” is what the media had pegged the miraculous safe landing of the US Airways Flight 1549 Airbus into the Hudson River on January 15, 2009 with 155 passengers and crew on board. The Today Show, airing the next day, interviewed survivors who called the pilot a hero and rightfully so since most aborted flights end in disaster. They determined that shortly after takeoff the plane struck a flock of geese causing both engines to fail.

Unfortunately, statistics show there has been a growing number of incidents like this.  It was reported by the FFA in 2013 there were 11,000 bird strikes at 650 airports. During their news coverage of the Airbus, the Today Show reported that geese population has increased by 400% since 1990!  I don’t know about you, but I sense some sort of connection here between bird strikes and the overpopulation of geese.

I am not sure how many of my readers live near lakes, ponds, streams, wetlands and the like, but I feel this information is important to communicate from an environmental standpoint.  Most communities include parks and walking trails that frequently abut various types of bodies of water.  And many of you may be involved in garden clubs, volunteering time to maintain these areas. Or may be on city councils or property planners who must be mindful of water drainage needs during construction.    

In a recent blog, I wrote that I would provide further information on geese control.  One of the ways to control their population is to plan for a ‘Natural Buffer Zone’ at least 20 feet in length around bodies of water.  According to, a buffer zone is “a strip of vegetation located between developed land and a lake, pond, stream or wetland. A good buffer protects the water, adds beauty and provides habitat for wildlife”. Keep in mind, though, natural instincts tell geese there are predators lurking behind the buffer on your grassy areas.  Therefore, they are much less likely to enter your property from the water side of the buffer and are not likely to nest in your yard, park, golf course or other typical nesting areas. 

In my investigation of this topic, I have found the following plantings to provide a high quality buffer zone: Purple Prairie Clover, Little Bluestem Grass, Purple Cone Flower, Switch Grass, Swamp Milkweed, Horsetail, Prairie Cord Grass, Tussock Sedge, Creeping Spikerush, and Softstem Bulrush. These plants require virtually no care except a controlled burn in the spring to control weeds.  And the flowers they produce and the birds they feed are another benefit to having a buffer zone. 

My next blog will cover ways to deter geese from becoming year round residents in your community.  These ideas have been proven to be both safe and effective. 




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Gramma Golden

Gramma Golden