Mild Winter Worsens Bergen County’s Geese Problem

By Desiree Taylor

Canada geese appear to be everywhere. But the NJ DEP estimate their numbers are down slightly from 100,000 to around 80,000 because of a variety of geese management programs.

In Bergen County, the old management plan involved rounding up the geese and killing them. But some residents opposed it. So in 2006, a new program was implemented called ‘egg addling.’ This process targets the goose egg before it matures. The eggs are covered in corn oil which stops them from developing. Bergen County Park Manager Peter Both says it’s effective, but it only targets the young so other methods are used such as habitat management.

Boarder collies can also help to keep the geese at bay. Man’s best friend has been helping a company called Geese Chasers LLC clear geese away from golf courses, parks, private complexes, and other areas across New Jersey where the fowl tend to congregate. The collies stare, stalk, and chase the geese but they’re not permitted to touch or harm them. Company officials say this tactic is effective. But critics say this doesn’t solve the problem, it just pushes the geese somewhere else.

The mild winter has impacted the geese population. Peter Both says the warm weather has encouraged the geese to start breeding early. There are two kinds of Canada geese — migratory birds and residents. Each goose dumps about 1.5 pounds of feces daily. Runoff into waterways can increase algae and bacteria. Peter Both says efforts are underway to clean this waste at Bergen County parks. He also encourages residents to refrain from feeding geese because it encourages them to stay.