Life & Island Times: That Time of Year


It’s that time of year back up in my former northern Virginia digs along the Potomac River. No, not tax time nor Valentine’s. No, it is now that groups of raptors will be wintering over out in the treed areas near suburban and urban developments.

I first noticed these winter snowbirds when I was living during the 1980s just outside the Capitol beltway in West Springfield that had neither a spring nor a field. What surprised me was to find similar groups of these hunter-killers a dozen or so years later when I moved to an urban row house in Old Town Alexandria.

I loved it when these feathered pillagers arrived because the dirty Canadian geese vamoosed. Maybe it was climate change — beats the hell out of me — but these geese had become year-round residents of northern Virginia. They had stopped going south anymore. So, they flew around all over the place — the slow running rivers, lakes and ponds in northern Virginia attracted the geese perhaps.

In particular, the geese congregated on the large sports fields of nearby schools and parks. They spent their days creating tons of goose poop which local dogs loved to eat after their off-leash running around madly chasing these winged crap machines. They never caught them, of course. When these birds had flown away, the dogs would return slowly, grazing on goose poop along the way. Only upon re-entry into their homes would they throw it all back up on their owners oriental rugs.

All this might sound amusing, but the geese became over time serious public health problems. No one did anything about it. Why, you might ask. Well, the agents of virtue who ran the various local municipalities wouldn’t allow it. Apparently, they wanted us to be as friendly with the geese as we were with the destitute homeless and the flush with cash, EB-5 visa program applicants.

For the parents of athletes who played on these fields, it meant knowing that your child practiced on fields that were, in fact, geese toilets. By fall, after the long, hot, dry summer, the poop had become a fine dust embedded in the grass. Concussions were one thing, but I had to think twice before letting my daughters practice and play on natural grass fields up there.

As God is my witness, I cannot recall without involuntarily shuddering a sensation as distasteful as having to snap a football or kick a soccer ball or place one of these balls in play as I did as a sideline ref that had been smeared with or dusted by goose excretia.

Once a local gold course less than a mile from where I lived acquired some sort of dog and put him to work chasing these birds. Once they were discovered doing so, the progressives in our local government issued an edict to the effect that you could not let the dogs out to “worry the geese.” So, the course ended up with what was a population explosion of these dirty and nosiy honkers.

They roamed the greens and fairways every day eating and so on. There was no sizeable water source in the immediate area. It was great to see them land and take off in formation. But, I really wanted to open fire on them when they started stopping by our back yard pool in Springfield, since they left behind sizeable messes.

With firearm discharging being not in acccordance with peaceable, genteel rules of my cul de sac (well, two of my neighbors were LEOs from the FBI & FPS who offered support as long as they could shoot some of the micreants), I was able to shoo my enemies off using spicy corn and several bad ass looking plastic birds of prey.

Sometime well after I moved south, the local governments finally got their acts together and allowed residents to secure the service of humane pest control companies like Their anti- goose schtick focussed on using border collies to tirelessly stalk and and chase these birds away.

My heart is warmed during this unseasonably cold winter here in the Coastal Empire winter by imagining packs of geese being run off repeatedly to the point of distraction and nervous breakdown.



Copyright © 2018 From My Isle Seat

Leave a Reply