Harsh winter causing geese to starve to death

Geese are starving to death across Rhode Island

Geese are starving to death across Rhode Island because of the extreme winter weather, and there's little anyone can do about it.

The sight of dead geese outside the Atlantic Beach Club in Middletown is unsettling.

"It's in areas that we expect to see birds -- but not dead. And they normally aren't pushed to the point where they're starving to death, which is basically what's happening," said Josh Beuth, a wildlife biologist.

According to the state, this beach is one of the hardest hit. At one point up to 20 geese were reported dead.

Dead geese were also reported in Conimicut, Rocky Point and at the Watch Hill lighthouse.

Because of widespread snow cover for abnormal amounts of time, the birds haven't been able to get food.

"As a result, birds were stuck on the water, what little open water was available, without the ability to feed where they ran out of their internal reserves -- fat, protein, muscle -- and started burning muscle to the point where they could no longer survive," Beuth said.

While it's unfortunate, experts said it's the cruel side of Mother Nature.

"We don't see it all the time. So when we see it, it's a little bit surprising. But it is part of nature and nature running its course," Beuth said.

If you see or find dead geese on your property, this is what you're supposed to do.

"People can either pick them up, if they don't want them there, and dispose of them. Put them in a thick heavy-duty trash bag or double bag them," Beuth said, "or they can just leave them and let nature run its course."

State officials said if you find a goose with a tag to please report it.

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