Saving the U. of Idaho Geese

//Saving the U. of Idaho Geese

Saving the U. of Idaho Geese

At KEA, we are nothing if not all-purpose conservation problem-solvers. Of course, we’re busy with clean water, land use, and forest issues. But some days the phone rings and we’ll have a brand new issue to deal with — the dike road trees, for example. Last week, we were flooded with calls about geese.

According to our callers, at least three geese were severely injured while trying to nest on the beams that cross the waterside front of the University of Idaho Coeur d’Alene campus building. It turns out that to deter the geese from nesting – as they have in previous years — a maintenance crew had installed, literally, a bed of 5-inch nails.

Horrified witnesses in the building watched the geese struggling to make a nest while getting punctured by the nails. The geese were completely covered in blood and could not understand their peril as this had been their nesting area for years.

Idaho Fish and Game was alerted and an officer came out immediately to investigate the nail beds. The officer evidently told the maintenance crew how to remove the eggs that a pair had been actively sitting on, and relocate the eggs to another spot on the Spokane riverfront. (It is our understanding that it is against federal law for anyone to destroy a goose nest that contains one or more eggs without first securing permission through the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. We do not know whether this permission was sought and granted.)

The Idaho Fish and Game officer also advised that if there were more injuries to the geese, the building staff should cover the nail beds with a wire screen, while still leaving the ends of the nails exposed to dissuade the geese. U of I officials did so.

Unfortunately, this might not have been the best advice.  The geese, not following the logic of the human intervention, simply returned to their nesting spot. And even though the screen was in place, the nails continued to injure the geese.

And that’s when KEA started getting calls. And emails. And photos. And more calls. The Coeur d’Alene Audubon Society was concerned along with KEA’s Board members and in-house friends-of-geese who got involved.

After a series of conversations with Idaho Fish and Game, and with an irritated Dr. Charles Buck, Associate Vice President and Chief Executive at U of Idaho’s Coeur d’Alene campus, our own Adrienne Cronebaugh was able to broker a deal to simply remove the bed of nails. Dr. Buck promised KEA that the nails will be removed as soon as a maintenance crew was available on Monday morning.

Geese can be messy and annoying and difficult to deter from congregating and nesting where they want to nest. But there’s no reason to be unnecessarily cruel.

By | 2012-04-13T11:26:10+00:00 April 13th, 2012|Wildlife|5 Comments


  1. CathleenO April 13, 2012 at 12:09 pm - Reply

    Bravo! KEA! And mucho kudos to Adrienne. What a horrible story to hear and thank you for taking such diligent action. There was a time when the University had a video cam up there so people could watch what the geese were doing, especially during hatching time. Wonder what happened? Thank you for the good work and a great post … you know how much we all love the wildlife stories ~!~

  2. Kris Buchler April 14, 2012 at 8:51 am - Reply

    It’s ridiculous that this kind of idiocy represents our state’s institution of higher learning. We live in North Idaho and wildlife is part of our natural landscape. Most people would welcome the chance to observe the geese raise their goslings. The International Migratory Bird Act was severely violated but unfortunately, few agencies really follow through and enforce transgressions. Hooray for KEA and the person who brought this whole travesty to light!!!!

    • Bird Lover Too April 16, 2012 at 2:46 pm - Reply

      You know what’s ridiculous and idiotic? Well, it’s the fact that same department you work for, perpetuated this idiocy. Yep, the Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game who you work for in curriculum development and wildlife education! I guess you need to do a better job with your pedagogy. Classic “Pot calling the kettle black” and “Epic Fail” There’s blood on your hands too.

      • Terry April 16, 2012 at 4:04 pm - Reply

        Seems unnecessarily harsh for someone you obviously don’t know. I suspect that had Kris had any knowledge or authority whatsoever in the U of Idaho situation, things wouldn’t have happened as they did.

        “Blood on your hands”? Seriously? Maybe dial it back a bit next time.

  3. Ann Sydow April 20, 2012 at 11:22 pm - Reply

    Great job KEA !! Thanks to all who were involved for being pro-active and helping those poor geese !
    I for one would not be surprised to hear that IDFG broke some rules; its a good ol boys club over there and who is there to rein them in? Our Governor is one of them.

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