British Columbia

Richmond RCMP warn drivers to watch out for migrating snow geese after 23 birds killed

Richmond RCMP are warning people on the roads to watch out for snow geese as their numbers start to increase with annual migration. In two separate incidents, Mounties say approximately 23 geese were killed by drivers in the past week.

Police say several birds appear to have been struck and killed as they start to return for spring

A man in a red jacket runs through a park full of white snow geese with black-tipped wings. Birds are clustered on the ground and dozens are taking flight.
Snow geese at Garry Point Park in Richmond, B.C., on Jan. 4, 2021. Police say over 20 geese were killed in two separate incidents this week as the birds begin their migration. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

RCMP in Richmond, B.C., are cautioning drivers to be on the lookout for honking birds.

Arctic snow geese often spend the winter in the city south of Vancouver, and police say they've been receiving reports of the wild birds being run over and killed as they prepare to migrate out of the province.

In a statement, Richmond RCMP Cpl. Ian Henderson said at around 5:40 a.m. PT Wednesday, police got a call about a large flock of geese near the intersection of No. 1 Road and Francis Road. Officers who responded discovered that three of the geese were killed after apparently being struck by a vehicle.

Two days earlier, on Monday, Feb. 13, at around 7:20 a.m., Mounties in Richmond received a report of approximately 20 dead snowbirds on the roadway in the 6200 block of Blundell Road.

Richmond RCMP said they're working with the B.C. SPCA to try to determine what happened and who was responsible since so many animals were killed at once, and it appeared they had been run over by a vehicle.

"Every year at this time, we see large numbers of migratory birds flocking to our local greenways, fields, parks and school grounds," said Henderson. "But they also move out onto nearby roadways."

A white snow goose with a brownish face and dark beak preens itself while standing in a small body of water in a park.
A snow goose at Garry Point Park in Richmond, B.C., in 2021. Every year the Arctic snow geese overwinter in British Columbia, and police are warning drivers to look out for them as they head back out. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

"Drivers need to slow down and pay attention ... especially in poorly lit areas and during the early morning hours."

Henderson said police officers and City of Richmond crews were able to clear the roadway, and traffic warning signs were set up in the area.

RCMP say there isn't any evidence that suggests criminal intent or a link between the two incidents.

But they've asked anyone "with information that may suggest otherwise" to contact the Richmond detachment or file an anonymous report with Crime Stoppers online or over the phone.

In an emailed statement to CBC, Clay Adams, Richmond's director of communications and marketing, also encouraged anyone who may have seen what happened to come forward.

Adams said the city is a popular location for snow geese due to their migratory patterns, and while they may pose concerns for some, the birds are generally accepted as a part of the diverse urban wildlife.

"To see so many killed in this manner is a sad and disturbing situation," he said.

"We understand an investigation into the matter is underway through the B.C. SPCA's Cruelty Division, in co-operation with the Richmond RCMP."