Mill Lake has become a goose haven in recent weeks, but the city says there could have been hundreds more birds were it not for its egg-targeting efforts.
A dramatic rise in the number of geese between 2015 and 2016 prompted the city to hire a contractor to addle – shake – eggs at parks across Abbotsford this year.
The contractor identified 81 nests around the city, and addled 454 eggs in April and May, according to city spokesperson Tracy Boudreau. At least 350 of those were “viable eggs.”
Still, hundreds of birds have currently congregated at the park, although many of them are expected to leave over the coming months.
“Currently, we are seeing geese arriving at Mill Lake Park and other parks and these numbers tend to peak by the end of June,” Boudreau said in an email. “The numbers are then expected to dissipate as they regain flight towards the end of July. Further counts will take place towards the end of June, and in the fall and winter.”
The addling of eggs is part of a goose management plan that will cost $26,591 and will include data collection and population modelling.
The city has previously tried a range of options to deter geese, which cause a significant feces problem at parks. Those options ranged from the installation of floating lights on Mill Lake to the use of dogs and hawks. Canine harassment is now against the parks bylaw and a 2012 trial using hawks had little success.
In 2015, the average number of Canada Geese on Mill Lake was 62, but peaked at 293 in early July. By May of 2016, 126 geese were present at the park.