Maybe this will answer some of your burning questions connected to Geese. Giamila and I were walking along the shore of Lake Michigan in Chicago’s Lincoln Park. Chitown has a large resident population of big and beautiful Canada Geese. Well, they’re ardent grazers and Christ on a bike but do they leave a whole lotta fowl loaves where they roam. So, in the interest of science and understanding Nature, let’s talk bird poop. Okay then, uppermost in your minds….”What’s with those Green & White Lincoln logs “? Well, that earthy green is due to their primary diet of grass and green vegetation. Lot’s of it. “How MUCH Doc?!” you ask…well, enough that the end product yields about 2 pounds a day per bird. Your average human drops a daily no. 2 at around 1 pound – give or take depending on height + weight + diet and if you’re an active bowler. A 6’5” Texan pushin’ 300lb that consumes a full rack o’ ribs, 3/4lb of brisket, smoked turkey drumstick, 2 links of smoked Polish sausage, 1/2 pint o’ pinto beans, 1/2 pint o’ potato salad, 1/2 pint o’ slaw, 2 squares of cornbread, cup o’ rice puddin’ and big ol’ wedge of peach cobbler with oatmeal crumble and 2 softball sized scoops of vanilla ice cream on top each and every dinner….well, we won’t go there. “Uhhhh… well how ‘bout that White stuff?” Good eye! That signature look is due to the evolutionary efficiency of simultaneously eliminating #1 & #2. #1 comes out as a white paste of nitrogenous uric acid that minimizes water loss to the bird. Two for one. Cool, eh? Now them birds can have a go up to 28 times a day, with the resultant dropping as represented in the upper left of the sketch. But Giamila & I saw the occasional pilling like that shown in the center of my sketch and the accompanying close up. We refer to this as ‘stool stacking’ and believe it to be the result of multiple excrements of perhaps 6-8 birds. This could be territorial marking in several ‘overlays’ or it could be a form of clutch bonding. Either way, the activity appears to be well rehearsed and tidy to boot. Just remember to to keep the dogs and kids away as that honker’s stool is a mini bus bursting with pathogenic passengers. Get a load of the list of ‘em on my sketch. In fact, a substantial population of them creatures can overwhelm the chemistry of small bodies of water. “What’s the solution to THAT Doc?”, you ask. Well, it IS Thanksgiving. Maybe you give turkeys a reprieve this next year.
Drawn with Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens on a Stillman & Birn Gamma Series sketchbook.

Let’s Talk Bird Poop

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