On a recent run through City Park, as I dodged giggling toddlers, long-leashed dogs, and one-footed geese (more on that later), I couldn't help but notice the one thing I wasn't avoiding: goose poop.
For a park that's home to several hundred geese, the pathways around the lake remain remarkably free of avian bombs (henceforth, A-bombs). I mean, it's there, but the paths aren't shellacked in the stuff, which I'd expect. As I took a final lap around the lake, I pondered why: Are they the country's most courteous geese and choose to take care of business politely off the common walkways? Or had the "Goosinator," a comically terrifying robot introduced last year to chase away the geese, literally scared the crap out of them?
Neither, it turns out. At least once a week, park employees ride a mobile poop-scooper that shovels the droppings off the paths and onto the grass; in the winter the same vehicle is used to plow the walkways. Year to date, park employees have spent 167 hours sweeping City Park paths, with particular attention paid to the geese's favorite gathering spots. (Note to self: Avoid picnicking and Frisbee games in the areas south and east of the lake, near the children's fountain.)
"The geese always seem to know when a big event is coming through, though, like City Park Jazz," says east district superintendent Adam Smith. "When 100 geese come across the pavilion, even if you just swept yesterday, you gotta get back out and do it again."
As for the one-footed geese, they're not the victims of speeding cyclists or some special City Park species of piranha.
"Most of the one-footed geese lose their feet as a result of something—usually fishing line—tangled around their feet or legs," explains Doug Kelley, animal and wildlife programs coordinator for Denver Parks and Recreation. "As it gets tighter, it cuts off the circulation, and the limb falls off, usually without infection or major adverse effects." Which gives a whole other meaning to the term "goose droppings."
—Image courtesy of Shutterstock
Follow senior editor Kasey Cordell on Twitter @KaseyCordell.