Managing goose population along Rideau River
The city of Ottawa is looking for some new ways to manage the Canada goose population along the Rideau River. One possible solution: shaking the eggs to sterilize them.
Along the Ottawa River, the drones have done a decent job of scaring the geese away from Petrie Island. But with thousands of them in this city, they just find a new place to roost. They pepper Strathcona Park, dot baseball diamonds, play structures and parks all along the Rideau River; hundreds of them being fed and photographed by admiring fans.
‘I think they are just beautiful birds,’ says Gabrielle Bastien, as she focuses her camera on the geese by the R.A. Centre in Ottawa’s south end.
But all the feeding is producing a sticky, stinky situation.
‘There are a few too many,’ says Moe Brazeau, as he takes a noon-hour break by the Rideau River, ‘and I’m an avid golfer, so especially when they have little ones, the excrement they leave is acidic and not too good for nature in my opinion.’
Ottawa City Councillor Mathieu Fleury wants the city to manage the growing goose population along the Rideau River, as it does along the Ottawa River, and do what it takes, humanely of course, to bring those numbers down.
‘We are asking staff to look at a strategy,’ Fleury says, ‘hire a biologist and expand their scope and consider the Rideau River because they have similar issues from what we're seeing at the beaches (along the Ottawa River).’
Along Petrie Island, a contractor was hired this spring to "addle" the goose eggs or shake them to prevent sterilization. Another contractor had proposed coating the eggs in oil to kill the embryo, though the city has not opted for that plan at this point.
The geese may not think much of that idea but some park goers would give it a go.
'I think you have to do what you have to do,’ says Denis Willaert, ‘if they are causing problems, you have to do something about it.’
And while geese have become a bit of a hazard along bike paths in this city, some cyclists say it is all part of the city's charm.
‘The geese coming back in the spring is a ritual,’ says cyclist Terry Hind, ‘something I look forward to especially the little goslings coming out, that's my sure sign spring has arrived.’
The goose topic will be on the agenda at Thursday's community and protective services meeting.