Southeastern Technical College Fish and Wildlife Management students got some in-the-field experience working with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and East Georgia State College (EGSC) to corral, study and relocate Canada geese in EGSC’s Ezra Pond.
“Daymond Hughes, certified wildlife biologist with the USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Wildlife Services, contacts me yearly to assist in relocating nuisance geese in this area,” said Jill Lehman, STC Fish and Wildlife Management instructor.
These geese become “nuisance geese” because they gather in ponds in populated areas during their molting period, which is a flightless period of 8-10 weeks. Overgrazing, aggressive behavior, harmful waste and ecosystem disruption are only a few of the problems created by molting geese in populated, maintained areas.
So, the geese are relocated to a more appropriate place by the USDA, and they enlist the aid of programs like Southeastern Tech’s to help with the work and to give some experience to potential employees.
“The students are able to put Canada goose relocation on their resume as part of their training,” said Lehman. “They learn how to manipulate flightless birds into a corral, clip wings, identify sex and band.”
STC and the USDA have partnered before on these relocation projects, but this marks the first time that EGSC has taken part in a research capacity. Dr. Jimmy Wedincamp at EGSC collected ectoparasites (external parasites) for study from several of the geese.
The 38 geese from Swainsboro were released at a location in west Georgia the same day they were collected.
STC Fish and Wildlife Management students look on as Daymond Hughes, left, and Dr. Jimmy Wedincamp, right, examine a Canada goose at East Georgia State College in Swainsboro.