Northern Ireland

Belfast's Shankill geese thrive in housing estate

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Media captionThe geese have been arriving each November for almost a decade

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.

Image caption A flock of Greylag geese turn up on Belfast's Shankill estate every November

Residents thought they would not stay because of pressure from pets and people.

The first year they arrived, people joked that they would make a good Christmas dinner.

Image caption Conor Macauley meets the Shankill geese

But loyalist paramilitaries put the word out that they were not to be touched.

And so they have prospered on the estate ever since.

Image caption Local residents feed the geese which have thrived on the estate

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.

Image caption Loyalist paramilitaries put the word out that the geese were not to be touched.

Traffic also slows down or stops to let them cross the road.

The geese leave the estate every evening to roost at nearby lakes.

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