On October 5, thanks to my friend Stewart O’Nan (whose website is linked in the Blogroll at right), I went to Game 2 of the A.L. Division Series between the Red Sox and the Angels. As I was walking to Fenway from Central Square, I made a short detour to visit the white geese that live on the riverbank just to the east of the B.U. Bridge.
These geese have lived at or near this spot for about 25 years. Originally some white geese were brought to the pumping station on the opposite side of the bridge, to act as guard animals. They look a lot like Embden geese, a common domesticated breed; they have heavy conical beaks and their heads are shaped differently from those of Canada geese. Over the years, they have been the subject of a good bit of controversy. Some people love them and some think they’re pests. The city of Cambridge, the MDC (which owns the land), and the Department of Conservation and Recreation have all tried to get rid of them (according to the website of the Friends of the White Geese). But they continue to live and breed in this incongruous spot, right below a world of traffic, especially at rush hour, which it was when I showed up at about 6:00. The white geese, along with Canada geese and ducks, were starting to settle down for the night.
It’s not clear to me why some people want to drive them away, but then again, I am the kind of person who keeps hens in his back yard. What also isn’t clear to me is, if people are making the lives of the white geese inconvenient where they are, why don’t they move? They’re geese! All they have to do is take to the river and go where they want. We know that greater Boston is full of excellent geese habitat, because the Canada geese have decided to move here, apparently on a permanent basis.
No answers are forthcoming.
I wonder what would happen if someone planted a plastic fox on this spot. But I’m not going to test that.
[More, including the answer to why the geese don’t leave this spot, in Pro. Pei #14.]