The grey geese are back, grazing the parks that run down to the shore. From now until mid April, when they head North, they'll be gorging on spring grass. Its not as bad here as on Islay where tens of thousands of geese overwinter on the RSPB reserves.
It has been estimated that goose grazing can reduce the amount of early grass for ewes and lambs by up to 60% and hay and silage yields by up to 20%. (Daw, The effects of goose grazing on Scottish agriculture, 2000.)
The geese don't have the impact here that they have on Islay but its still worth scaring them away.
These Greylag geese along with the Canada Geese are feral and are in the area all they time, they do not migrate from this area. They are a problem along the west coast and the hebridean isles but you do need a licence to cull them out of season.
I am not sure what proportion of the winter population of greylags breeds in Scotland but surely they can't all be non-migratory! We don't cull them, my neighbour's sheepdog just likes to move them on.
the greylags are a migratory bird, but like most migratory birds some do stay all year round but not in the numbers we see in early spring, and its right that a licence should be sought to cull them as if not then over zealous gun owners would blast every single last one of them out of the sky.
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