Geese and ducks enjoy a quiet summer afternoon on the Sammamish River. There is concern about their safety.
Photo by Nick May/Woodinville Weekly.
by Nick May
A small community of geese, ducks, and chickens have flourished along the Sammamish River Trail between Bothell Landing Park and Bracketts Landing for some time. Although they are wild animals, the birds have shown their obedience and docility to the many who run, bike, or stroll along the path.
Because of their exposure to humans, the fowl have become pets to the nearby residents and trail-users. This is why concern is being expressed in response to the depletion of the animals.
"This year, everything changed. There are virtually no hen chickens left," writes Rosemary Miller, a concerned Bothell resident, in a letter to the editor.
Over the past few months, Miller has witnessed many of her closest feathered friends become the victims of hungry dogs, overzealous bikers, and youths toting sticks. She grew attached to one Chinese goose in particular, named Big Mouth. However, last week, the goose disappeared after its six-year residency at the Bothell Landing Park, with its fate a mystery.
"The word from people was that he made someone a good dinner. I find that thought appalling ... He was not a wild animal. He was a pet, and everyone loved him," Miller wrote.
The Bothell Police Department has received several complaints throughout the summer months regarding the well-being of these animals. Doing harm or injury to any duck or goose is a misdemeanor under the Bothell Municipal Code's section concerning hunting out of season. These measures are reinforced by the Mandatory Bird Act and the Animal Control Center, which both seek to protect the rights of fowl.
The city of Bothell is taking preventive action to protect the birds on the trail. Signs are being crafted to remind pedestrians and bikers that any harm caused to the birds is unlawful and in conflict with the Bothell Municipal Code.
Although citizens are concerned at the loss of these animals, the Bothell Parks Department reports that maintenance crews find only about 10 dead fowl per year.