Webster’s on a wild goose chase

15 May

Baby geese are cute and fuzzy, but eventually grow into messy, aggressive adult geese.

A few days ago, as I was driving along Empire Blvd. near Abbott’s, I almost rear-ended a car which had come to a dead stop in front of me. After letting loose a few … um, highly complimentary … adjectives to describe said driver, I looked more closely and saw why he had stopped.

Two adult Canada geese and half a dozen fuzzy goslings were slowly waddling their way across the busy road.

My near-accident was a perfect illustration of the big problem Webster is having right now with geese. A recent survey of the local geese population counted about 200 resident geese in the area – those are the ones which nest locally and don’t migrate very far. Plus, this spring you can add about 50 new goslings to that number as well.

So basically we now have about 250 geese making their way around town, befouling walkways and ponds with their droppings, damaging lawns, spreading disease, and causing automobile accidents.

The survey identified several areas where the problem is particularly bothersome:

* North Ponds Park
* R.L. Thomas High School
* Willink Middle School
* Calvary Automation (Publisher’s Parkway)
* Mirrorshow Management (corner of Hard Rd. and Publisher’s Parkway)
* Webster Parks and Recreation building
* Empire Park
* Webster Park
* Webster Golf Course
* Webster Schroeder High School

North Ponds Park has a large number of resident geese.

All sorts of eradication strategies have been tried already, with limited success. The Rec Center installed decoy coyotes on their property last August, which scared the geese for a while – and some residents, for that matter. But eventually the geese caught on. More recently, the Mirrorshow Management folks strung fishing wire and tinfoil around their ponds. That worked for about two weeks. So far, nothing seems to be working for very long.

Last week, representatives from the Parks and Recreation Department brought the issue to the Town Board to see what could be done. Several possible solutions were presented, including hiring a border collie to scare away the geese (Brighton has had some success with this), putting stones around ponds (geese like a grassy habitat) and addling the eggs (spraying them with corn oil so they never hatch).

All of these plans would cost the town a lot of money. One idea, however, received a lot of support from the board members: a capture and euthanize program. With the help of strategically placed snow fencing, human sheep dogs herd geese into holding pens from which they’re collected, shipped out of town and euthanized. And the best part? Federal grant money will pay for it.

So right now, that’s the plan. Sometime in the next few months the town will conduct a catch and euthanize program at North Ponds Park. Then, once the local geese population is at a manageable level, the Rec Department will use its bag of tricks — and maybe some budget money from the town — to keep it there.

One Response to “Webster’s on a wild goose chase”

  1. Bruce February 7, 2017 at 2:16 pm #

    There are SO many inaccuracies on your blog..please educate yourself and write informative pieces!. Geese do not like grassy areas, rocks would encourage nesting, and tall grasses on the edge deter them. Killing geese clears the way for new flocks to come on in (so TOTALLY ineffective and inhumane as well). You also dont ‘spray’ eggs with oil and you dont need to spend money…just good people willing to volunteer some time each season to addle eggs and nest detur. It is an illusion to think that you can control geese. The only thing that can be done is bring them to a more managable level!!!

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