Honk, honk. Boom, boom. Early Canada goose hunting season starts Tuesday

Non-migratory geese are blamed for crop destruction and helping to degrade water quality in the Island's coastal ponds.

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Geese and their droppings are the bane of golf courses, playing fields and ponds on Martha's Vineyard. — File photo by Mae Deary

The Massachusetts early Canada goose hunting season begins Tuesday, September 8, one half hour before sunrise and ends at sunset on Friday, Sept. 25. The timing of the season is intended to reduce growing populations of geese that have lost their natural urge to migrate with the seasons.

Canada geese feed on young growth and pull vegetation up by the roots. The large birds also produce from one half to a pound and half of droppings per day according to state wildlife biologists. A study of fecal contamination in several Island ponds by a University of New Hampshire professor identified geese and cormorants as significant sources of E. coli bacteria.

According to a history of goose management provided on the MassWildlife website, prior to the 1930s, it was unusual for geese to nest in Massachusetts. That is no longer the case.

In Massachusetts, there are two different populations of Canada geese. The first is the migratory population that passes through in the spring and fall. The second is the resident population, descendants of captive geese once used by waterfowl hunters to attract passing birds.