Poultry Games at Memorial Park

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After clogging the fountains of Memorial Park, Canada’s iconic bird is no longer welcome in the vast green space near the Legislative Assembly.

The provincial government installed a sound-emitting device at one corner of the park to deter Canada geese from nesting in the area or wading through the fountains between Broadway and York Avenue.



Canada geese didn’t seem to notice the noise from the newly installed device when they were observed on Friday. (Mike Deal/Winnipeg Free Press)

Last year, droppings from excessive numbers of Canadian geese clogged fountains at the north end of the park and created “unusual mechanical” problems that required repairs and increased cleanup efforts, a local official said. government spokesperson.

Pedestrians walking through the area or enjoying spring in the park shouldn’t be surprised to hear a bird’s call not typically found in downtown Winnipeg.

The device can produce calls from up to 40 species, including regional bird distress calls and calls from birds of prey, the province said. The province has also installed decoy birds in the park and near the Legislative Assembly.

“While the device is in temporary use, the hope is that it will keep geese away from the area so the public can enjoy the fountain and surrounding park,” the spokesperson said.

The province did not respond to questions about the extent of the damage caused by the geese, the length of time the newly renovated fountain was out of service, or the cost to repair the mechanical problems.

It was unclear when the fountains in Memorial Park would start flowing for the season.

Canada geese aren’t easily deterred from their favorite gathering spots and are increasingly becoming a nuisance due to their growing numbers, said Jim Shapiro, senior scientist at the University of Manitoba and former director of the Avian Behavior Laboratory. .

“You’re not going to chase them away. You’re just moving the problem to another place,” he said.

The geese strolled through the park on Friday, seemingly unaware of the noise.

Geese will learn to ignore strange bird calls, Shapiro said.

As the bird population grows, people can expect to see Canada geese in more undesirable places, including railroad tracks, parking lots and lanes, parks and sports fields, and near trash cans, Shapiro said.

“They’re multiplying, they’re federally protected…and it’s been a constant problem for many years. They’re here in Winnipeg almost everywhere you look,” he said.

Last summer, the provincial government completed a $3.7 million project to refurbish the Memorial Park fountain, described as the centerpiece of the park.

Memorial Provincial Park was a project of former premier Duff Roblin in the late 1950s to honor “those who gave their lives for freedom,” the province said.

The fountain, called City Hydro Fountain, opened in 1962 and celebrated the 50th anniversary of Winnipeg Hydro, which began operations in 1911. Before the fountain broke down in the late 1990s, it featured vast waterscapes and light shows in homage to the Northern Lights. .

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Danielle DaSilva

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