It’s baby bird time at parks!
It’s baby bird time at area parks, which means it’s time for a reminder about proper wildlife stewardship. In Seattle, at Magnuson Park, Matthews Beach, Greenlake and more, wild birds are nesting and hoping to hatch a family.
At Magnuson Park in particular, it’s important to respect the rules in the areas that are designated as federally-protected wetlands. These areas are full of nesting wild birds who need their space.
Here’s a close-up on the rules. There are other areas nearby where it’s okay to have your dog off-leash, but the wetlands are NOT one of those areas. Just last year, a nesting goose was attacked by an off-leash dog and died from her injuries.
This Canada goose has four goslings that are just days old. They’re extremely vulnerable at this age, but both mom and dad do a good job at trying to keep them safe.
Another Canada goose nearby is still setting on her nest, keeping her eggs warm so they’ll hatch.
Her mate grazes nearby, but not too close. His job is to distract people from the nest, so he stays 10-30 yards away from it much of the time.
He keeps an eye out for trouble, and will protect the nest fiercely if threatened. Geese can charge and attack this time of year if they sense danger. So that’s another reason to give them extra space.
It’s important to remember that their aggression is meant to protect their family, and it’s not okay to lash out at them or let dogs chase them in response.
Also, teach children not to chase birds. As prey animals, birds are on constant alert for predators. What may seem like innocent fun letting your toddler or dog chase a bird is actually perceived as a life-threatening attack by that bird. The stress they experience can have long-term effects on their health. So please, never chase wildlife. You may know when your dog is on a leash, but the goose does not.
And if you see wrappers, cans, cigarettes or other packaging in wildlife areas, pick them up and put them in a trash can. That will go a long way toward keeping birds safe. This candy wrapper thankfully passed completely through this goose. But plastic consumption often results in death of birds, and many birds naturally eat shiny, colorful objects. A clean park is a wildlife-friendly park.
By following these few easy rules and tips, you are doing your part to protect and respect wildlife in our parks.
Stay safe, little goslings. We promise to be good wildlife stewards!