Something's afowl at Loudy-Simpson

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Talk about a Christmas goose.
What the future holds for a group of local birds is ruffling a few feathers among some community members.
The concerned Craig residents are hissing mad about what is happening to the gaggle of geese and their friend the duck that inhabit the ponds at Loudy-Simpson Park.
The fowl group, which spends the summer months residing along the banks of Loudy-Simpson Pond, has become the topic of both recent concern and controversy.
For at least the past six years, people from the surrounding area have been encouraged to drop off the geese and ducks most of which are domesticated at the pond so that local residents can have the opportunity to feed and watch them frolic.
Before the onset of winter, homes are located for the fowl that allow them, with their minimal survival skills, a good chance at surviving the brutal Northwest Colorado winter months.
Additionally, the Moffat County Parks and Recreation Department has an aerator located in the pond that is continually running to assist with fish survival rates.
The constant bubbling action from the aerator usually provides enough open water for the birds to protect themselves from local predators, such as foxes and coyotes, that frequent the Loudy-Simpson area.
That was until this year.
According to Grandbouche, the aerator is working, but not able to keep the pond from freezing, forcing the birds to fend for themselves.
Bill and Linda Booker, who in the past have been instrumental in the pre-winter roundup of the geese and ducks, are a couple of Craig residents searching for answers.
"It's really sad," Linda said. "For many years we have been able to gather the geese and even provide a home for them during the winter months. We used to have geese and ducks at our house, and were able to keep the ones from Loudy-Simpson over the winter.
"Unfortunately a couple of years ago, we switched from raising ducks and geese to chickens, and now all we have is a chicken coop. I wish that we could still take them, but we just don't have the room."
So the Bookers enlisted the help of Craig resident Kay Servatius, who provides bags of corn for the flock during the summer months. She has also been an active participant in finding homes for the group.
"It's disgraceful," Servatius said. "Steve Grandbouche (Moffat County's Parks and Recreation Director) encourages people to come out and drop the ducks and geese off during the summer, but when the winter comes, he does nothing to find them homes."
Servatius claims that the geese are not only being forced to dry land, but often crossing Ranney Street in search of open water.
"I was out there the other day and they were really close to Grandbouche's house (which is located near the park)," Servatius said. "I was tempted to get out of my car and do what I could to herd all of them into his front yard so that he would be forced to deal with them."
Grandbouche, though, claims that is not the case.
"We don't solicit for people to bring the geese out here," he said. "Actually, it can create a number of maintanance headaches over the summer, especially trying to mow around their droppings.
"We feed them, and if someone wants to take them over the winter, we'd be more than willing to provide the feed."
Until that happens, the group continues to hang out in the parking lot, crossing the highway and advertising themselves as lunch for a hungry fox.
It is not a pretty sight.
Ducks and geese, especially domesticated, are the things dreams are made of for predators.
It's what a $2.99 all-you-can-eat buffet is to Al Roker.
So what can be done to ensure the future safety of the geese and duck?
According to Bill Booker, someone from the community will need to come forward to provide a home for the wayward fowl.
"I really wish that we could do something with them," he said. "We are all concerned about what is going to happen to them now that winter is here, but they are still out there."
According to Servatius, finding a home for the group is only half the battle.
The most difficult part, she said, is getting them to cooperate with the relocation process.
"Oh, that is a hoot!" she said, referring to the roundup process. "Bill has some sort of special talent where he can get them all together, but it is a sight to see watching someone attempt to corral them.
"Someone's going to have to do something soon, because without any shelter or food, they are not going to last out there very long."

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