As a professional journalist, part of my job is to be fair, unbiased, and factual. Bearing that in mind, I would like to point out that the city of Bend, Oregon is full of raving nutcases who should all be locked up in a mental institution somewhere in French Guiana, where they would have minimum opportunity to spread their lunacy to normal humans. And I say that with the utmost respect.
Actually, a lot of the folks in Bend, Oregon are probably just as normal as you and me. Well, you anyway. The problem is that some of the people there are certifiable wackos, and as we all know, the idiots are always the ones who are noticed. They make better headlines than regular people, for some reason.
That’s what’s probably happening in Bend, I guess, because a friend sent me a news story about a memorial service there. This is not a memorial service for fallen American servicemen and women, or firefighters, or police. It’s a memorial service for birds. Geese, to be exact. And if you think I’m making this up, bear in mind that, as I understand it, a large percentage of the population of Bend, Oregon has migrated there (rim shot) during the past decade or so from Los Angeles and San Francisco.
What happened was, Canada geese have proliferated abundantly lately, to the point that wildlife officials have done away with bag limits on them during hunting seasons, and even allowed electronic calls to be used in many places. These geese have just about ruined their summer nesting grounds in the north, and their numbers are still growing. We have now reached the point where we have far more geese than we can say grace over.
A lot of these geese apparently live in Bend, and inhabit the parks there, and have become pretty much tame. People feed them, and they waddle around and honk, and engage in various other traditional goose-type activities. Unfortunately one of those activities is pooping, and when you have a lot of geese this can get to be a problem.
It got to be such a problem at the city parks in Bend that officials have been trying to thin out the goose population for several years now, with little success. I can’t imagine why not, since the methods used were 1)chasing them with dogs, 2)shooting them with paintball guns, and 3)putting oil on goose eggs to prevent them from hatching. I promise I did not make any of these methods up.
Now, it looks to me like the dogs would have done the trick, as long as they were allowed to catch and eat the geese. I guess they weren’t. I’m not really surprised the paintball guns didn’t work, although if anyone out there has a video of this method taking place I would dearly love to see it. But the oil thing has me wondering.
I have never heard of putting oil on an egg, of any type, to keep it from hatching. This seems unlikely to me, but then, a memorial service for geese seems pretty unlikely, too. My question to the Bend egg oilers would be: If you got close enough to the eggs to oil them, without getting goosed by the mom, why didn’t you just go ahead and break them? I mean, duh. What a passel of gooberheads.
They finally decided to catch a bunch of the geese, put them in garbage can-sized containers, and gas them with carbon dioxide. Thus 109 geese were done in, mercifully, to save the parks.
The story doesn’t say whether the geese were then cleaned and given to needy families, or something logical like that, but I’m assuming that’s what happened. Or maybe not, since there seems to be an abundance of wackos in Bend, who decided to organize a memorial service for the geese. Maybe they buried them, or something. I don’t know.
The funniest, or maybe saddest, part of this story is the comments made by people who read it on MSNBC. A lot of folks were seriously upset that the geese were killed. One person wrote, "I personally think it is crazy to kill these poor animals for going to the bathroom." Which, of course, was the point. They didn’t go to the bathroom, they just cut loose on the ground, wherever they happened to be. If they’d gone to the bathroom there probably wouldn’t have been a problem to begin with.
Some who commented got sidetracked, confusing the Canada geese with Canada, the country. I couldn’t tell whether they were blaming the Canadians for the goose poop in Bend, or defending the Canadians from perceived Canada-bashers who were opposed to Canada goose poop, or maybe something else. Intelligence is hard to come by on internet message boards, harder for some than others.
To the sane population of Bend, Oregon who are doing their best to battle pooping geese and raving fools: please accept my apologies for pointing out what space cadets some of your newer citizens are. And if you ever decide to again open up paintball season on the geese in your parks, please give me a call . . .
Kendal Hemphill is an outdoor humor columnist and public speaker who has never shot a bird with a paintball gun. Yet. Write to him at PO Box 1600, Mason, Tx 76856 or firstname.lastname@example.org