Management Actions

News Release: 2013 Egg Addling Program Underway

News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 8, 2013

Egg Addling Controls Goose Population

In a continued effort to control the Canada Goose population in the Okanagan Valley, the Okanagan Valley Goose Management Program is about to begin its annual egg addling program. Over the past six years, this program has prevented the exponential increase of the non-migratory resident goose population that inhabits the valley all year long.

“While most communities along the valley are struggling with management of non-migratory Canada Geese, this program aims at reducing geese that are not a native species to this area,” says Kate Hagmeier, coordinator of the Okanagan Goose Management Program. “Trained contractors have already been searching for pairs and nesting sites, and we hope to complete the addling program by the end of May.”

These geese are largely descendants of geese that were trans-located to the Okanagan in the 1960 and 70s as part of an introduction program. Young geese and eggs were brought here from different areas in Canada to encourage the creation of an Okanagan goose population.

What was not foreseen at the time was the inability of these geese to migrate because they had no natural parents to teach them, and, like most of us, had the ability to adapt and thrive to the mild Okanagan climate which encouraged them to remain.

The egg addling program involves shaking eggs or coating them with non-toxic biodegradable food-grade corn oil within 14 days of incubation to make them non-viable. The U.S. Humane Society supports this egg addling technique.

Once addled, eggs are returned to the nest. Geese continue to incubate until they realize the eggs will not hatch. At this point, it is generally too late in the year to produce more eggs. Adults are not harmed and will continue with their regular life cycle.

Since the program began in 2007, approximately 7,700 eggs have been prevented from hatching through this minimally invasive approach. Taking into account natural mortality of young through predation or nest failure, that is equivalent to approximately 5,800 fewer geese in the valley. The program also entails a preliminary nest locating component and an overall goose population surveys.

In order for the program to succeed, new nests need to be identified. The public is asked to report lone geese, pairs of geese or nest locations on private or public land by emailingcoordinator@okanagangooseplan.com or calling 1-877-943-3209. Information about the program is available at okanagangooseplan.com.

The public is asked to keep away from goose nests and to avoid touching the eggs. The Okanagan Goose Management Program has secured a special permit from the federal government allowing crews from EBB Environmental Inc. and Wise Wildlife Control to addle goose eggs on public and private lands with the owners’ permission. In the case of private lands, an authorization form is available on the program website.

In addition to egg addling and population surveys, a grant from the Western Canada Turfgrass Association in 2012 contributed to a leg-banding program.  Bird-banding is the practice of applying unique markers (bands) to the legs of birds. When a marked bird is observed by a birdwatcher or recovered by a hunter, data on age, survival, habitat use and migratory patterns can be retrieved and analyzed.

“The data collected during the leg-banding program will help us to improve our understanding of the population and how different birds use the valley,” says Hagmeier.

Please help report lone geese, pairs of geese or nest locations on private or public land by emailing coordinator@okanagangooseplan.com or calling 1-877-943-3209. Information about the program is available at okanagangooseplan.com.

The Okanagan Valley Goose Management Program is a partnership between the City of Kelowna, Central Okanagan Regional District, Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen, District of West Kelowna, City of Vernon, City of Penticton, Town of Lake Country, Town of Osoyoos, Town of Oliver, District of Peachland, District of Summerland and Glenmore Ellison Irrigation District.

For more information, contact:

Kate Hagmeier

Project Coordinator

1-877-943-3209

coordinator@okanagangooseplan.com