PHOTO: BANPRIK/ISTOCKPHOTO

Branta Canadensis maxima, the giant Canada goose, was once a popular game bird. This sub species of Canada geese, over-hunted and practically extinct 50 years ago, is now considered more of a pest than a possible meal. Waterfowlers in northwest Ohio, where I live, prefer ducks.

While the sight of a formation of geese flying low overhead as the sun peeks over the horizon still thrills me, I don’t like what the geese are doing to the nearby grassy park and the beachfront where they gather in such huge numbers. They make a huge mess.

Geese eat the grass in the park, and then they defecate either on the beach or in the lake itself. The amount of fecal material produced by a goose each day can vary, but generally ranges from 1 to 3 pounds wet weight. The fecal material contains nitrogen and phosphorus, and may also contain several pathogens harmful to humans.

Is it a significant contribution? Probably not in my neighborhood, given Lake Erie’s size. Even so, in light of the periodic massive outbreaks of algae in the Lake’s relatively shallow western basin, even tiny amounts of phosphorus contribute to the problem.

Beyond that, the presence of a thousand or so resident geese picking the grassy beachfront near my home clean of plant material and “donating” their daily load of nutrients to a popular swimming area is not a good situation.