Photo: Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

Geese in distress on campus

The Boar has conducted investigations after University students have accused ‘Warwick staff’ of destroying goose eggs.

The complaints follow a number of incidents where Canada geese around campus have been seen attacking people.

Jade Feeney, a postgraduate student studying Programme and Project Management at Warwick Manufacturing Group, reported an incident on Wednesday 8 May.

She claimed that at around 12pm a ‘Warwick Accommodation staff member’ drove up to a Heronbank flat where geese have been nesting recently, chased the geese off and then threw two eggs into the bin.

Ms Feeney said that after witnessing this she retrieved the eggs from the bin with a scarf, and returned them to the nest. She alleged another staff member was also in the van during the incident.

She later contacted the Boar again to claim that she had witnessed the same member of staff return to Heronbank and drive over the nest at around 4pm on the same day, destroying all of the eggs.

She commented: “I know the geese are annoying in the place they are nesting, but that doesn’t excuse the destruction of the nest and the eggs, and the agitation of the geese.”

In response to this complaint, Peter Dunn, head of communications at Warwick, said: “The University does from time to time have to act to control the overall numbers and range of the Canada geese population on campus.

“That careful management of the geese population is performed under licence by trained members of the Estates staff only after careful consideration and when required.

“The [incident described] does not match those occasional licensed actions.

“If resident students see anyone acting towards the range of fauna on campus in a way that they believe may not be appropriate, they should report it to their Warden who will take it up with the appropriate departments and people concerned.”

Rumours on social media have spread, saying the believed reason why geese have been attacking people (see video below) is because they are protective of their nests, and are in some cases distressed because their eggs have been removed.

Another student who lives with Ms Feeney, but wishes to remain anonymous, said: “I was horrified to see the [‘Warwick Accommodation’] employee steal the goose egg and dispose of it.”

Chris Maughan, treasurer of the animal ethics society, which has recently petitioned for the Costcutter on campus to sell only free range eggs in its store, told the Boar: “If these allegations are correct I would condemn the measures taken by the University to control bird populations.

“Whilst I would acknowledge that some degree of ecological management at the level of wildlife populations is both necessary and difficult, there are more humane methods available than simply disposing of the unborn goslings, for example, sterilisation.

“We would recommend that the University seek advice from the many animal welfare and bird conservationist groups that exist nationally for precise details on this.

“We would also appreciate if the University could release a full statement on the issue, clarifying the specific motives behind their actions.”

Have you seen any incidents involving geese on campus?

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Comments (2)

  • We have a video of security performing careful population management of the geese on campus. This effort was not very well thought out. It involved them trying to chase a nesting pair away from their nest only to have them fly back again 5 seconds later.
    It appears to be typical of the bullish manner that the university security operate with. Not very considerate (mostly nasty) and with little (no) intelligence.

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