Hands off: Shankill geese thrive in housing estate
They are annual visitors to a Belfast housing estate who are afforded a particularly potent layer of protection.
A flock of Greylag geese turn up on Belfast’s Shankill estate every November.
They come from Iceland to Belfast over winter, having first arrived about a decade ago.
Residents thought they would not stay because of pressure from pets and people.
But loyalist paramilitaries put the word out that they were not to be touched.
And so they have prospered on the estate ever since.
Robert Spiers regularly feeds the geese at his gate.
He says the first year they arrived, people joked that they would make a good Christmas dinner.
“The paramilitaries round here put a stop to that,” he said.
“They said ‘leave the geese alone’, so nobody touches them.”
The birds have now become an integral part of the community.
They’re a big draw for children and will accept food from people’s hands.
Traffic also slows down or stops to let them cross the road.
Source: BBC News – Northern Ireland