Chasing Canada geese from Monroe's Mill Pond

| 21 Feb 2012 | 10:59

    MONROE-For the second season in a year, the Monroe Village Department of Public Works and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have worked cooperatively to stabilize the Canada geese population that has taken up year-round residence in the vicinity of the Mill Pond. Despite the pleasant appearance and trumpeting sound of these large, colorful water birds, the Village of Monroe, like many other communities, has been grappling with finding a suitable relief from the nuisance of numerous, large-size bird droppings. The density of droppings on sidewalks and park lawns presents a real challenge at the popular lake area park for both the runner and casual stroller. Auto traffic problems also may occur with large groups of meandering birds strolling across busy roads. Golf course managers, boat yard residents and park attendants have used various techniques from firecrackers and bird hunters to working collie dogs to get rid of these pests with generally little long-term success. This is the second year that the village has participated in a pilot goose stabilization program along with the cities of Newburgh and Middletown. Geese are exceptionally loyal to a nest site and the goal is to reduce or reverse the population growth of the resident geese by reducing the attractiveness of the area for goose nesting and to break the instinctual bonds of geese to remain in the area after nesting season. If goslings begin to disappear, the adult and juvenile geese will be more likely to leave the area. The non-destructive and non-violent approach used is to locate spring nest sites and coat the birds' eggs with corn oil, a technique called addling, which means loss of development. The oil keeps air from passing through the shell and the embryo cannot develop. According to the Humane Society of America this technique is 95 to 100 percent effective. To be humanely successful, it is critical to know the timing of nesting and egg laying. Geese lay an average of five to six eggs per nest. It is imperative to addle eggs in the early stages of development. A float test is performed on the egg and if the egg begins to float when placed in water, a developing embryo is present and the egg is not addled. Village Secretary of Highway and Water, Eileen Mancuso, said that last year the village applied this technique to over 300 eggs. To approach an occupied nest, village workers shoo the nesting hen with umbrellas. Remote controlled boats are also used to deter water-borne geese.