Over the past couple of weeks there has been a noticeable presence of goose droppings along the pathways in and around the Britannia and Andrew Haydon parks. I have been working with Parks staff on how best to address this.
The City is aware that the goose population is higher this year, not just in Bay Ward, but across the entire City of Ottawa with focus on Mooney’s Bay and other parks that are especially located near open water. It is more related to milder climate and favourable conditions to stay in the area. While Canada geese are a national symbol, the animals can cause a lot of problems for the cities they reside in, leaving staff to find solutions to mitigate their populations. According to the Canadian Wildlife Federation (CWF) there are over seven million Canada geese living in North America.
Due to milder temperatures many resident geese choose to stay put for the winter season and have stopped migrating to breed and instead stay in the same place throughout the year. Some of the things that the City has established to help deter or mitigate the presence of geese in our parks are; using the tactics of egg management, coyote decoys, and pathway cleaning/maintenance. The programs do not allow for lethal interventions directed towards any hatched/living goose:
Egg Management: Egg management can only occur in the spring under strict criteria as set out by the CWF. Egg management is completed by a contractor with the required experience in such works not city staff. Egg sterilization is one tool the used for Canada Geese management and it is meant as a long-term strategy. Mature geese will continue to return to the location they were born.
Coyote Decoys: The use of coyote decoys has proven successful to-date. The decoys are moved periodically throughout the day.
Pathway Cleaning/Maintenance: Mechanical pathway sweepers conduct frequent passes to remove feces
Stakes and bird deterrent tape: are installed around the ponds in the park. Staff continue to monitor the effectiveness of these interventions.
I met with City Parks staff this week to discuss my concern for the increase of goose droppings and they have agreed to increase the frequency of the pathway maintenance. In addition to this staff are putting up additional signage through out the parks and at the beach telling visitors not to feed any birds, particularly sea gulls and that there is a fine for those who do. Public advisory announcements are also being made over the PA system, in addition By-Law staff are also increasing their presence at these sites to help educate and remind visitors.