Here's why the Vancouver Park Board wants the public to report goose nests
VANCOUVER -- In a message to those taking a stroll along the seawall, by the beach or in a local park, the Vancouver Park Board says it hopes the public will report nest sightings as it aims to reduce the goose population in the city.
With those reports from the public, the board says it plans to remove nests or addle eggs, a process which stops embryo development.
According to the Vancouver Park Board, the city has more than 3,500 Canada geese and that population is growing due to an ideal habitat and a lack of natural predators. The board also says people feeding geese has led to rapid population growth.
"Feeding by humans occurs regularly and contributes to the geese congregating in high-traffic areas and popular parks near this food source," said Dana McDonald, environmental stewardship co-ordinator for the park board, in a news release.
"Supplemental feeding by humans can also contribute to geese being able to lay more than one clutch of eight eggs per season; meaning that if one clutch does not hatch, they can replace it. In nature, without food from humans, this wouldn’t happen."
While geese will often congregate for feeding and moulting in grassy areas along shorelines, like Stanley Park, English Bay and Trout Lake, the park board says that's not necessarily where they'll nest. Instead, nests are more often found on roofs and balconies of buildings and on tall, topped trees throughout the city.
The park board says wildlife specialists suggest "at least triple the amount of addling" needs to happen in order to actually have an impact on population size and growth rate. The city says egg addling has been its primary method of controlling geese population since the 1990s and that the approach is supported by both the BC SPCA and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA.
The main issue staff members have had, however, is finding nests.
According to the park board, some of the negative impacts geese are having on local habitats include eating newly seeded grass, digging holes around sprinkler beds, goose droppings on sports fields, polluting outdoor pools, defecating on memorial benches and becoming aggressive during mating season. Caretakers of wedding venues and waterparks have also had a hard time keeping areas clean of droppings.
Susan Lispett, who lives near Granville Island, told the park board she's counted as many as 175 geese, including goslings, during the summer.
"The geese are benign most of the time, but when they have goslings they are vicious. I know two people who were bitten and of at least three dogs that got giardia from eating goose poop," she said in a news release posted by the city.
In addition to addling eggs, the park board says it also plans to increase enforcement and make the ban on feeding geese in parks more explicit.
Individuals can report nest sightings online or by emailing email@example.com.