What do Eden Prairie and Woodbury have in common? They have roughly the same number of geese. I don’t know how Woodbury deals with their goose population, or even if they consider it to be a problem, but EP has figured out a way to control their numbers, and Kyle found on the EP City Manager’s Blog:
Eden Prairie has the dubious honor of having roughly 9% of the Metro area goose population. The City of Woodbury has a similar population. Our Purgatory Creek Recreation Area (PCRA) has a large number of nesting and fall migrant geese and is a great gathering site for our population, along with the floodplain area and Olympic and Bearpath Country Clubs.
The City has a goose â€œcollection programâ€. We employ a contractor to collect adult geese, an while I donâ€™t want to get too graphic here, they eventually become donations to food shelves here in the Twin Cities.
By “collection” they seem to mean, capture, pluck, gut, and cook. They end up in St. Paul food shelves according to this KSTP article.
If geese paid taxes they may not face such a fate:
We must manage our local goose population in order to keep Eden Prairie a wonderful place to live, work, and play for the human population that pays the bills around here.
EP isn’t the only city running a “collection program.” Minneapolis also “collects” then “processes” their excess goose population.
Meeting Report 4/21 | Minneapolis Park Watch
Geese Management Plans for 2004
Assistant Superintendent Schmidt then made a presentation about goose control. A head count will be done in June (nesting season) to see how many resident geese there are at which time it will be detirmined how many will need to be collected during molting season. Those geese will be donated to the local food shelves. The cost for this is $1000 per round up and $15 per goose for processing. Other control methods for keeping the geese from eating near the lakes and streams and then defacating there in would be more tall grass plantings along the waterfronts and use of a spray called Flight Control on the areas where the grass is cut short. This spray is not harmful to most species and motivates the geese to eat elsewhere. It would be used most prominently at Mill Ruins Park and at the Lake Hiawatha Beach where the e-coli levels have been worst.
It sounds like more geese are being “processed” nowadays since it’s becoming harder to find states who are willing to take trapped geese.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Tackles Problem of Urban Geese
Goose control measures have included “hazing” or frightening the birds with vehicles, noisemakers, falcons, and dogs; the use of electric fencing; the use of flags or balloons to discourage geese from landing; live capture and relocation; and lethal controls.
Catching the geese and relocating them has been used effectively for many years. In mid-summer adult geese molt, losing their old flight feathers and growing new ones–effectively rendering the birds flightless for a few weeks. During this period, both the adults and juvenile birds can be trapped and transported away from problem areas. Juvenile birds “imprint” on the area where they fledge, or first learn to fly, so transplanting these birds to different areas during this time ensures that they will return to these new areas during each subsequent spring migration.
While effective in removing problem geese, relocation to other areas has proven to be a short-term solution. The reason: The market for Giant Canada geese has been saturated–every state wildlife agency which wanted geese now has them; and they do not want any more.
I seem to remember hearing about Minneapolis collecting geese near Lake of the Isles that ended up being shipped to Arkansas.
Doggie control seems like a more humane solution for those who feel attached to their local goose populations, but not enough to want them on their property, golf courses, or park land.