Geese have yet to realize that Abbotsford’s parks aren’t an ideal place to hatch a new family.
Bedeviled by huge numbers of geese flocking to – and pooping at – Mill Lake Park and other public places, the City of Abbotsford has enlisted a contractor since 2017 to target goose eggs. Workers “addle” eggs by shaking them or coating them with a food-grade corn oil to prevent them from hatching.
Last year, 512 eggs in 91 different nests were addled. About two-thirds of those were at Willband Creek Park and Fishtrap/Ellwood Park. Thirty-two eggs in six nests were shaken at Mill Lake Park, with another 31 eggs addled at Sevenoaks Shopping Centre.
Indeed, Mill Lake’s large spring goose population is mostly bred elsewhere. Kate Hagmeier, who works with the contractor employed by the city, told The News that geese actually prefer to establish nests in elevated areas that provide a clean line of site. That results in nests on rooftops, apartment balcony and atop vents. They don’t need to be next to a body of water, just within walking distance so young birds can lose their own feathers and grow new ones over the spring.
Mill Lake’s annual goose gathering doesn’t seem any smaller, one councillor noted last month.
“To the untrained eye, there seems to be more geese than we have ever had and sometimes the geese are chasing the people off the pathways,” Coun. Sandy Blue said, as council heard that the city’s parks department had budgeted $25,000 to continue with the egg-addling program. The city spent $19,200 on the program last year.
“I know this is a very challenging and delicate area to manage, but suffice it to say, I think this is something that is a priority for many people who are park users.”
Next spring, the city will urge residents and businessowners to contact the goose management contractor if they find a nest on their property.
Private citizens shouldn’t go around shaking goose eggs To addele a goose egg, you need a federal permit and training, the city notes. The website notes that geese can not only be aggressive, but their feces are a source of fecal coliform, E. coli, calmonella and campylobacter at parks and beaches.
“The key to the success of the program is finding new nests,” the website says. Once the weather improves in the spring, the public should email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 604-943-3209 to report geese in pairs or alone, or their nests.
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