The park and recreation district in Bend, Ore., drew international attention two years ago when it decided to gas more than 100 geese and give the meat to local shelters.
There hasnt been a repeat of the controversial killing of so-called nuisance geese, but the drastic measure intrigued Boise officials, who have been fielding calls each year about goose poop and problems in the citys signature parks and at the citys Warm Springs Golf Course.
We were looking for every option that was available, said Mike Woodward, the horticulture manager for Boise Parks & Recreation and the citys go-to guy on goose issues.
Pat Erwert, Bends park services director, told the Statesman that the central Oregon district hasnt had to kill more geese and hopes not to have to in the future.
Bend park workers now relocate goslings and aggressively haze geese. The only lethal step is oiling goose eggs. Coating eggs with corn oil deprives the embryos of oxygen but the mother goose thinks the nest is full of good eggs and doesnt lay more.
We have people in canoes, people with dogs we have a volunteer list of people that will chase them out of parks and out of the water, Erwert said, although the hazing stops during nesting season. It seems to work. Weve been doing it pretty seriously the past two years, and some of the geese just get tired and leave.
STRATEGIES IN BOISE
Boise officials sought the counsel of Idaho Department of Fish & Game officials last year. Boise asked whether killing some of the adult geese, as Bend did, would be feasible.
I said, I dont know that thats necessarily what we want to do, said Jeff Knetter, a Fish and Game biologist who oversees the waterfowl program. Its not a simple problem. If you round up the geese in June, the problem wouldnt be solved.
City officials agreed to do a yearlong study of the geese in parks so they could determine whether the offending geese were migratory or residents that nest in the Boise area.
Last June, 500 geese in Ann Morrison and Julia Davis parks and the Blue Cross of Idaho complex in Meridian were banded and then regularly counted.
The result: Banded birds represented 38 percent of all the geese in Boises two biggest parks in the summer. By December, they represented just 3 percent.
The take-home message is that there are a lot of migratory birds in the winter, Knetter said.
The study also found that the so-called resident geese actually travel. Some were shot in Alberta, Canada, he said.
So how does the city plan to address the perennial goose poop problem?
For the first time in more than a decade, city workers oiled the eggs of nesting geese in the parks. They chose that because it is faster than other measures, such as shaking them.
Kathryn Albertson Park had many more nests than Ann Morrison, Woodward said. About 300 eggs in 70 nests were oiled.
Im surprised that we still saw a good number of goslings, Woodward said, but we definitely saw a decreased number.
They plan to oil goose eggs again next year. Coyote cutouts silhouettes placed around the parks the past couple years are effective only for a few weeks, and then the birds catch on, Woodward said.
Other mitigation efforts being considered include allowing dogs off-leash in the parks during winter months.
Weve discussed having volunteers a group that would take on hazing, Woodward said.
Katy Moeller: 377-6413