South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks is taking a gander at the growing goose population within Sioux Falls. More and more Canada geese put their southern migration on a holding pattern in order to spend winter in the city.
"A lot of them will spend the entire winter here. This is where they were born and raised," South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Regional Wildlife Director Ron Schauer said.
Game, Fish and Parks is taking a roll call of the growing gaggle of Canada geese that's spilling over into the spillway on the city's north side.
"It helps us kind of get a feel for numbers over the winter," Schauer said.
The geese are flocking to the open water that's in abundance during this mild winter.
"Our population, on Canada geese especially right now, we'd like to see fewer of them, they're well above the management goal," Schauer said.
One reason Game, Fish and Parks wants to see the goose number go down is the potential threat they pose to aircraft taking off and landing from nearby Sioux Falls Regional Airport.
"A lot of these birds will go out and feed twice a day and when you get thousands of birds up in the air and they generally like to fly with the wind, you can run into some problems because they'll head right into the airport," Schauer said.
Game, Fish and Parks can help keep the waterfowl population from soaring by lengthening the hunting season and increasing bag limits or try chasing them away. Any final decisions will depend upon the results of the head count of these honkers.
"Sioux Falls will always have lots of Canada geese," Schauer said.
Game, Fish and Parks will conduct another waterfowl survey in the spring, after some of the Canada geese leave Sioux Falls and fly back north.