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Canada Goose Control

Goose Egg Oiling Project for Canada Geese Population Control

Canada Geese on nest

Technically, it is still winter but signs of spring are already visible. It is staying lighter longer and if you look closely, there are already buds on trees. Birds are singing their spring songs and Canada geese are already back on Lake Nockamixon checking out their nest sights from last year.

This article is about what happens when Canada geese are allowed to overpopulate an area. The fact that they will come back to the same nest site year after year; in addition to the fact that they are tolerant of human disturbance contributes to the problem.

Wherever large numbers of geese are present there are problems for parks, private homes, swimming pools, marinas, and water supply reservoirs to name a few. The geese damage to property, which is usually very expensive to repair, lessens the value of that property, causes economic and agricultural loss, and is a threat to public health and safety.

Overpopulation of Canada geese affects natural resources. The grazing and trampling of the geese contribute to soil erosion, bank erosion, reduced crop yields, takes food away from livestock, and increases the cost of production for farmers. There is a reduction of water quality in ponds and lakes. Goose droppings can be a significant source of phosphorus and nitrogen, which can stimulate Algae blooms and cause changes in the ecosystem. When algae dies oxygen levels are depleted. This results in stress or death for other aquatic life.

Overpopulation of Canada geese increases serious hazards to public safety. When it is nesting season geese will aggressively defend a nest or goslings. They will attack anyone, or anything they perceive to be a threat. These attacks can cause injuries from falls and bites. When geese nest close to roadways, they create traffic hazards that may result in accidents and injuries.

Overpopulation of Canada geese can also create hazards for aviation. At many airports, they are considered a very hazardous species due to their abundance and behavior. The problem with geese at airports occurs all along the Atlantic Flyway on the East Coast as well as many other places. Aircraft both Civil and Military have been damaged or destroyed by collision with geese. As Canada geese grow in numbers, so do the number of collisions.

Another concern for humans is the potential threat of disease. Where geese are abundant so are goose droppings. This is especially a concern where children, the elderly or anyone with an already compromised Immune system are present. Various pathogens have been found in goose droppings including Giardia, Cryptosporidium, Salmonella, Chlamydia psittaci, Histoplasmosis and Toxoplasmosis. Most of these cause respiratory or intestinal disorders. The CDC considers Giardia and Cryptosporidiosis to be highly infectious. The coliform bacteria (Escherichia coli) from goose droppings have been linked to high coliform counts in drinking water supplies, swimming areas, ponds, and beaches. Health agencies respond to this threat by closing these areas.

These are the hazards of allowing Canada geese to overpopulate an area. We are trying to reduce the threat to public health and safety by doing the Goose Egg Oiling Project. What we do is a form of birth control. Every nesting season we go out in kayaks to check for nests. From the time we find the first eggs, we start oiling the eggs with corn oil from a spray bottle. Every egg in every nest is oiled every week during the nesting season, which can run from late March early April to the beginning or middle of May. We mark each nest on a map of the lake and enter the number of adult geese, nests, and eggs we find on data sheets. When the season is over the report is turned in at Nockamixon’s park office. From there, it is passed on to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Canada Goose

The less young that hatch the less the population. The smaller the population the less threat of disease, injury, property damage, agricultural loss or environmental and habitat loss or disturbance.

The Goose egg oiling project is helping to keep the park and lake cleaner and safer for everyone.

Canada geese

C. Friel

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