The Okanagan Valley Goose Management program is working on its sixth year of egg addling to control the number of Canada geese in public spaces.
Trained contractors have been searching for pairs and nesting sites and hope to complete the addling program by the end of May.
“Last year, field crews located and addled 1,308 eggs from 274 nests between Vernon and Osoyoos,” said Project Co-ordinator Kate Hagmeier. “The multi-year project aims to reduce the population of resident Canada geese to a more manageable level, and reduce large concentrations of geese in heavily used public areas.
In addition to addling, aerial surveys conducted in 2011 indicated that growth in the goose population had leveled off, but Hagmeier would still like to see more results. “Preventing the dramatic population growth that would have occurred is an exceptional accomplishment, and one that the participating communities should be lauded for having the foresight to manage. However, I hope continued addling, progressive management and partnerships with additional jurisdictions will decrease the Okanagan goose population.”
Egg addling 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.
During the past five seasons, approximately 6,600 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 5,000 fewer geese in the valley and all their potential young. The program also entails a nest locating component and goose population surveys.
Key to the success of the program, is finding new nests. The public is asked to report lone geese, pairs of geese, or nest locations on private or public land by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org 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; a special permit is required to perform egg addling, which has been secured 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.