Read about the resurgence of the giant Canada geese in this lovely book with spectacular color photographs.

The Geese of Silver Lake

Contact Choo and Earl:



A young lady from Bangladesh enjoys the geese at Silver Lake on Memorial Day (May 2007). Sadly, photos like this will now be history. See Letter to Editor below.
Photographer: Nancy Kushner

JULY 3, 2007

Silver Lake has become a major eyesore

7/3/2007 8:29:28 AM

Has anyone seen Silver Lake lately?! It looks a lot like East Berlin in 1961. Our rah-rah mayor and the city council must be very proud. They have taken something that was not a problem and in turn created a very big one.

The concrete bunkers and yards of fencing have created a world-class eyesore. This has been done to appease the few squeaky wheels who can't stand the sight of a little goose dropping here and there.

Meanwhile, the unfortunate geese, who were bothering no one, will merely move away from the lake and into the street and neighboring yards.

We have been to Silver Lake many times per year over the course of many years, and the number and condition of the geese has not significantly changed. We are incredibly lucky to have this beautiful park and these wonderful geese right in the heart of our city.

Why can't those in power ever leave well enough alone?

If you are as disgusted with what has been done to the habitat of the geese at Silver Lake as we are, you are urged to voice your displeasure by contacting the offices of the mayor and the city council.

Let them know that, because of what they have done to Silver Lake, you will vote against them in the next election.

That is the only language they will understand.

Sandra Landis

and Peter Williams


THANKS TO PAT CARR, Rochester City Councillor, who has been helping us greatly by monitoring the geese at Silver Lake. In mid-June, he observed that approximately 150 southern migrants have arrived from Missouri and Arkansas. These are molt migrants who will remain in Rochester during the summer, returning to MO and AR in the fall. Molting is the process where old primary feathers are replaced. These geese will be flightless for about a month. We are still investigating the case of the "vanished" crippled geese and we need your help as we do not reside in Minnesota. If you're at Silver Lake, please look out for the cripples (photos below) and report their numbers to us. If any of them are in bad shape (unable to walk due to crippling injury or sickness), please get someone to help you capture them and transport them to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota located in Roseville.

Contact us:

Thanks to Pat Carr (Rochester City Council member), Carolina Waterfowl Rescue, The Coalition to Prevent the Destruction of Canada Geese, Citizens for the Preservation of Wildlife, Randa Mickelson (Rochester Dream Homes), Emily Buss (Post Bulletin) and all of you who wrote to the Mayor, City Council, Post Bulletin and signed the petition.

Petition attacks city's goose-control plan

5/31/2007 9:56:52 PM

By Emily Buss

The Post-Bulletin 

An online petition has garnered more than 600 signatures from people opposed to efforts to trim Rochester's Canada goose population.

Passionate pleas are not only from Minnesota but from across the United States, Canada and Australia -- and even a member of the Rochester City Council.

The petition says 50 to 60 injured and crippled geese are year-round residents of Silver Lake and will suffer the most from actions designed to manage the flock, because they can't fly away.

"In particular, this project will cause great suffering for the significant number of crippled and wounded geese that make their home year-round at the lake," the petition says.

Margaret "Choo Choo" Love, a resident of Manitoba, Canada, started the petition and runs a pro-goose Web site. She says she has visited Rochester and doesn't think Silver Lake has an overpopulation of geese. She also says buffers are a cruel way to get rid of them.

"The city of Rochester has promoted Canada geese for many years but has never bothered setting up a waterfowl rescue site for these injured and/or crippled geese," Love said. "Also, Rochester is known throughout the world for its medical facilities. However, for its injured geese, and geese are, by the way, on the city seal, Rochester does nothing."

Due to concerns about goose overpopulation, the city council earlier this year decided to remove corn feeders from Silver Lake Park.

Other, more aggressive steps, such as addling eggs in their nests or extending the local hunting season, have not yet been agreed upon. Both actions would require approval from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

In addition, the council also approved a plan to install vegetative buffers around Silver Lake in an attempt to clean up the water. The buffer would act as a filter for runoff into the lake.

The buffer was proposed as part of the population-control plan, although city officials are skeptical that it will discourage the geese. However, the petition says the buffer will cause the crippled geese to starve because they will be unable to fly over it to feed. The installation of the buffer is set to begin late next week.

Barb Huberty of Rochester Public Works says the buffers are a cost-effective way to reduce the amount of runoff that seeps into the lake every year from goose and pet fecal matter. Once the five-year project is complete, the buffers could prevent up to 79 percent of the harmful runoff from reaching the water, Huberty said.

"The buffers will mainly act as a water-quality treatment device," Huberty stated. "The population of the geese surrounding this area is not likely to change."

Council member Pat Carr recently signed the petition to protect the crippled geese -- yet the petition was against the buffers, which Carr actually supports.

"I don't think it will have a negative effect on the geese," Carr said. "All animals, for that matter, have to learn to adapt to their environment."

Rochester's year-round flock of giant Canada geese is estimated at 1,000 to 2,000; in winter, it can reach 40,000.


Photo courtesy of Nancy Kushner


For decades, the city of Rochester, Minnesota promoted the feeding of Canada geese at Silver Lake as a tourist attraction. The discovery and resurgence of the giant Canada geese are linked to the geese of Silver Lake and to Dr. Charles Mayo. These geese have been mentioned in many books and publications. Gary Blum, a Rochester resident, has earned international recognition for his unique artwork using goose poop.

Silver Lake is a wintering destination for approximately 30,000 geese who arrive in late September and depart in March. About 2,000 geese spend their summers in Rochester but most of them are migrants from Missouri and Arkansas (Post Bulletin June 28, 2003 article). They arrive in Rochester in May and travel back to Missouri or Arkansas in Sept/ Oct.

Due to hunting outside city limits, fishing at Silver Lake, and open water at the lake year-round, there are crippled and wounded geese at the lake (some photos below). There are also some domestic ducks and geese at the lake. They have been able to survive thanks to the kindness of Rochester residents and visitors.

Many of the "resident" geese targeted by the city administration remain year-round in Rochester because they are crippled.  Some of these geese were crippled by hunters. Others were injured when fishing lines were tangled in their feet, causing infection and subsequent loss of their foot. Often these geese have other compounding problems such as missing flight feathers, feathers broken by pellets,  lameness or weakness in the other foot, etc., causing them to be grounded. Still other geese accidentally fly into hydro lines, breaking their wings. There are also geese with "angel" wings that are unable to fly. (photos below)

These policies will be detrimental to the crippled flock, particularly during the winter months as food is scarce and they're unable to fly out to feed. When the signs go up discouraging feeding, most people will take one look at them and never return to feed the geese.

Please CLICK HERE for a 5-page FAQ from the city of Rochester Parks and Recreation Department regarding the Silver Lake Buffer Project.

I spoke to Don Nelson, Rochester Area Game Manager for the Minnesota DNR February 27, 2007. He expressed concern about the possibility of the geese starving to death. He said he'd keep an eye on them and if it appeared that they were starving, the department would round them up and send them to the slaughterhouse!

Therefore, we urge goose lovers who live in the Rochester area to continue to feed the crippled, flightless geese, especially during the winter. Please feed them nutritious food in the form of grain (cracked corn, wheat, oats, etc) which you may purchase from a feed store. If any of the geese appear to be severely crippled (unable to walk, toppling over, etc), please get someone to help you capture it and transport it to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota in Roseville.


This goose has angel wings and is unable to fly.

Half of this goose's right foot is gone. When we saw him in September, a fishing line was entangled around his foot. It was swollen and he was in obvious pain. Unfortunately, his left foot is lame. He has to crawl about with his wings and is unable to fly.


This goose is also missing a foot. He hops about from spot to spot. We doubt that he can fly.

Please CLICK HERE for a videoclip of this goose.

If the city desires to continue with its plan to create the buffer zone around Silver Lake, they should show compassion to these crippled geese by creating either a separate fenced area within Silver Lake where these geese may be fed or creating a sanctuary for these geese and redirecting visitors to feed them there. Such actions will present to the world the image of a progressive, civilized and humane community.




Dennis Hanson:

Ed Hruska:

Marcia Marcoux:

Bruce Snyder:

Pat Carr:

Bob Nowicki:

Sandra Means:

Mayor Ardell F Brede:

The Post Bulletin: Letters to the Editor must not be more than 225 words and must include your name, address and phone number:

Dennis Stotz, Parks and Recreation Department Assistant Superintendent:


MESSAGE FROM LOVE CANADA GEESE: After some discussion, we have concluded that the poem below is pro-geese, anti-DNR and Post Bulletin.

Take a gander at goose count

6/14/2007 8:32:00 AM

Ten proud Canadian geese cruising in a line, along came the Department of Natural Resources, and then there were nine.

Nine proud Canadian geese with lookouts not awake, the Department of Natural Resources caught one, and then there were eight.

Eight proud Canadian geese at a quarter past eleven, when the DNR squeezed the firing switch, and then there were seven.

Seven Canadian geese loaded with goose poop, but after the Department of Natural Resources fires a hit, there were only six.

Six proud Canadian geese running for their lives, one lagged behind, and then there were five.

Five big Canadian geese almost at the shore, the Department of Natural Resources released an eel, and then there were four.

Four proud Canadian geese were slighted by the Department of Natural Resources and they fired a double shot, and then there were two.

Two Canadian geese, a big one and a small, the Department of Natural Resources shot the big one down, so then only one.

One little Canadian goose arrived at Silver Lake -- then the Post-Bulletin announced there were 10.

Jai O.B. Knuth


Longing for a lost Rochester
2/10/2007 7:27:05 AM

It is a misfortune, Rochester's indifference toward the life of the geese. These beautiful creatures that have been given much praise -- whose extraordinary beauty through many decades has met the tide of injustice in a town where artists made their living painting them and people remembered the city not only by the health and well being of the masses of people but by the value of nature on the edge of town.

It is difficult to adjust to these people whose efficiency disturbs the well-being of the human heart. It is difficult to value indifference and the callous virtues of people whose nature is to destroy the well-being of children growing up. The young and the old, whose life is dependent on human decency and the arrival of joy through nature. The beginning of a good life is no longer here.

Miriam Knuth

Council goes with passive geese measures for now

2/7/2007 9:39:45 AM
By Jeffrey Pieters

The Post-Bulletin 

Despite a request from two Rochester residents for the city council to schedule a public hearing on a goose-population control plan, council members decided Monday they're not going to do it.

That's because the only things the city council has approved thus far are so-called "passive" control measures, including planting a native-vegetation shoreline buffer around Silver Lake, where many of the resident geese congregate.

The buffer vegetation is primarily a measure to filter land surface runoff and improve water quality, but it could also serve to make the lake area less attractive to geese.

A separate measure, to remove corn feeder machines from Silver Lake Park, was approved earlier this year by the Park Board.

Other, more aggressive steps, such as addling geese eggs in their nests or extending the local hunting season, are not yet decided. Both actions would require approval from the state Department of Natural Resources.

If egg-addling took place, it would be on a trial basis, and in one location, near Pinewood Road, where residents have complained about excessive numbers of geese coming onto their properties.

During an open comment period at the start of Monday's meeting, Amy King of Rochester told council members that the more aggressive steps would be "cold-hearted and barbaric." She asked for a public hearing on the proposal.

Another resident, Flo Sandok, said it has not been satisfactorily demonstrated that the goose population is a problem requiring city attention. "There is no problem," she said.

All of the council members, except Sandra Means, said they weren't willing to have a public hearing.

Means conceded her position, but said she wants the city to take special steps to explain the situation and the program proposed. She and other council members said the population-control measures have been misunderstood in the media and elsewhere.

  1. "Goose Feeders Flying the Coop
Thank you for voicing your support for the geese of Silver Lake! Please send this page to all your goose loving friends!

Contact Choo and Earl Rosenbloom