Members of the public are invited to help manage the population of resident Canada Geese in the Okanagan Valley.
PLEASE DON’T FEED THE GEESE!
The most effective way for the public to help control the goose population is to refrain from feeding geese or other waterfowl. Check out five reasons below why you should not feed geese:
- Feeding geese contributes to overpopulation
- Urban parks and recreational areas are becoming overrun with geese and waterfowl.
- Feeding geese impacts environmental health
- Large populations of waterfowl contribute to over-grazing, trampled vegetation, and soil erosion
- High fecal coliform counts can deplete oxygen levels in wetlands, which can cause fish kills and be harmful to other aquatic organisms
- Feeding geese causes them to become “Tame”
- Waterfowl lose their natural fear of humans, which is crucial for survival and maintenance of instinctual behaviours
- Geese approaching humans for food can become extremely aggressive
- Animals that retain wild characteristics have higher rates of survival in urban settings as they do not depend on hand-outs for food and shelter
- Feeding geese increases risks to human health
- Large concentrations of waterfowl can lead to increased fecal matter in the water and on the landscape. Increased fecal matter leads to higher fecal coliform counts, E. coli, and other pathogens such as Salmonella
- This can lead to swimming advisories at recreational beaches
- Excess feed may attract rats and other pests
- Feeding geese can be harmful to them
- Feeding waterfowl can cause dietary and digestive problems for the birds
- Most handouts such as stale bread, crackers and pastries have little nutritional value and can contribute to starvation
A natural diet is much better for geese and allows them to forage on their own–their wild integrity remains intact.
HELP LOCATE GOOSE NESTS
Between mid-March and mid-May, wildlife technicians and biologists are surveying the Okanagan Valley for goose nests. Nests that are found with eggs up to 14 days incubation are addled, that is, made non-viable so that more geese don’t enter into the resident Okanagan Valley Canada Goose population. Addled eggs are returned to the nest. Returning the eggs to the nest ensures that the adults are unaware that their eggs are not viable and the pair won’t try and re-nest elsewhere. The adults will eventually abandon their nest, but it will likely be too late in the season for them to initiate a new one.
We try our best to locate nests, but if you know the location of a nest, please tell us. Many nests of urban geese are on private property such as boat sheds, garden planters, and balconies. Geese will often use the same nest site (or be very close by) year after year so keep your eye on old nests. During the addling field program we can be reached at 1-877-943-3209. Our email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Addling can only be done under special permit authorized by the Canadian Wildlife Service of Environment Canada! Altering a nest is illegal under any other circumstances!
GOOSE PROOF YOUR PROPERTY
There are simple steps you can take to make your property less attractive to geese:
- Cover planters and turn basins upside-down
- Don’t leave tires outside
- Seal boat sheds and boats
- If you tarp boats, don’t let the tarps sag, but create a peaked “tent”
And if you leave for the winter…please “Goose Proof” your property before you go.