- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 28, 2000

DENVER Gaggles of volunteers and state wildlife officials conducted a series of early morning raids on known hangouts of geese in the Denver area, hoping to snatch as many as possible for deportation.

More than 5,000 resident Canada geese hang around town year-round minus the 902 that Colorado Division of Wildlife spokeswoman Cameron Lewis said volunteers captured Monday.

"We will band them, then transport the juvenile birds to Pueblo [Colo.], where we hope they will establish a new breeding territory," Miss Lewis said. "The older birds will be taken to Burlington, but we know some will just come back as soon as they can fly."

Right now geese are molting and won't fly until they grow their flight feathers in late summer, making them easier to catch.

Vicki Vargas-Madrid, district wildlife manager, said geese are causing problems on golf courses, in parks and in neighborhoods because of the volume of their droppings.

Wildlife managers discourage feeding geese, but it's still common practice, and this combination of artificial feeding, man-made lakes, few predators and extensive bluegrass lawns makes many areas goose-friendly enough that some choose to live here year-round.

"We anticipate this may be the last year we round up and move geese from the Denver metro area," Mrs. Vargas-Madrid said. "After this year, we do not have any more receiving sites available."

"We need to explore other options for managing geese in Denver," wildlife biologist Jennie Slater said.

She said some communities have experimented with trained dogs to herd geese off specific grounds, covering ponds with netting, applying grape juice solution on lawns to repel geese and using commercial repellents.

In some states, agencies have received permission to kill geese to provide food for homeless shelters and charities.

• Distributed by Scripps Howard.

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