It looks like Denver can duck its goose dilemma no longer. The Colorado Division of Wildlife announced last week that it won't be rounding up Canada geese this year -- or in future years -- from parks, golf courses and ponds and deporting them, as it has done in previous years. "The places that felt they could handle more geese have asked for and received them," says DOW spokeswoman Cameron Lewis. "All these locations have now filled their quotas." Last year, the DOW relocated more than 1,000 of the big birds to rural southeastern Colorado.
But that leaves the question of what to do with the frequent flockers, which have become year-round residents of metro Denver rather than just spring and fall visitors -- and a nuisance to many. While some states -- Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin -- slaughter and sauté the geese to provide food for people in homeless shelters, "that hasn't been proposed for Colorado," Lewis says, adding that aside from public-relations problems (and the fact that the geese are a federally protected species) "there are some costs involved. Someone has to pay to hold and process those geese."
If only reality could imitate art. In Salida, aspiring screenwriter and filmmaker Charles Newcomb is putting the finishing touches on Get Goosed, a movie he began filming in summer 2000, which takes up the tale of George, an elderly Native-American man who lives in a rest home and who has given up on life. "While sulking by the lake one day, he's befriended by an extraordinary Canada goose," reads a description of the movie. "The friendship grows, as does the spark of life in George's heart. Before long, he checks himself out of the rest home and spends his son Bryan's inheritance on a farm he converts into a sanctuary for Canada geese...Our story unfolds with some hand-wrenching and heartbreaking turns of events...But touching scenes (and one amazing Canada goose) make it all worthwhile."
The movie, scheduled for release in November, is based on one of Newcomb's own experiences: He was in a park one day when a Canada goose landed at his feet and kept him company. Over time, Newcomb and the goose became friends, and, in fact, the goose would sometimes fall asleep with its head in Newcomb's lap. Tragically, goose-actor Owashi, who plays himself in the movie, was shot and killed by someone before the film was completed.
Hopefully, the same fate won't befall Denver's honking inhabitants. Christmas dinner, anyone?