Why am I seeing geese in the streets and other places? Off-leash dogs in Ann Morrison Park a favorite haunt for geese could be driving away the birds, said Jeff Knetter, a biologist with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. Early this month, the city began allowing dogs to run free in parts of the park to reduce the number of geese there. Besides being a nuisance, the geese damage the grounds, Boise Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Amy Stahl said.
Where do the geese go? Grassy areas close to water are always popular, Knetter said. That means parks, golf courses and sports fields. On the Boise State campus, the honkers are especially fond of the grassy area between the administration building and the library, said Michael Moon, interim director for facility operations. They damage the grass there, Moon said, but the bigger problem is the volume of droppings they leave all around.
Are more geese in Boise because of winter migrations? Some geese do winter here, Knetter said, and others stop here on their way south. So its common for their numbers to swell. But theres no indication that the goose population in Boise is more than the 4,000 to 5,000 that typically are here during winter, he said.
Will Boise continue allowing off-leash dogs at Ann Morrison? Its a pilot program, and Stahl said the city will evaluate results in March and decide whether to continue the policy.
What are other options? The city has tried several tactics to reduce the number of geese in the park. These include placing coyote decoys and oiling eggs in nests to keep them from hatching. Other cities, such as Bend, Ore., have resorted to killing some geese.