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Give The Geese A Chance


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It is encouraging that so many have responded to the Bend Park District's call for volunteers in its geese program.

The Park Volunteer Coordinator stated that she was "feeling really good about the quantity of volunteers who have stepped up" for this effort.

The volunteers will be engaged in the two most important components of humane geese management - oiling eggs and hazing with trained dogs.

It may seem counterintuitive, but nonlethal methods such as these have proven to be the most powerful and cost-effective ways of resolving human-geese conflicts.

"The geese have basically cleared off. The main part of the river is basically clear of Canada geese," reported Ian Heggie, town treasurer of Stratford-Upon-Avon, which adopted the GeesePeace program in 2005.

Unfortunately, the Bend Park District to date has been unwilling to match its commitment of resources and volunteers with a pledge to embrace a multi-seasonal approach, in which exterminations are taken off the table.

In spring 2010, the Bend Park District began its nest location program in earnest. The visiting director of GeesePeace noted an immediate reduction in hatched goslings. A park official even acknowledged zero population growth (The Bulletin, June 23). Instead of building on this success and incorporating the recommendations of GeesePeace for further improvement, the district abruptly about-faced and killed 109 geese on June 29.

We can never know if exclusively nonlethal methodology will work here if we don't give it the proper amount of time to be fully implemented and proven.

- Foster Fell

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