Still shaking those eggs

The unwelcome Canada Geese that make the Okanagan their home are in for a bit of a shake up. At least their eggs are.

For the 11th year in a row, an egg addling program is underway throughout the Valley to control the population of the geese.

According to statistics supplied by the Okanagan Valley Goose Management Program, about 2,500 birds live in the Valley throughout the year and, without the program, there would be an estimated 10,000-plus geese and generations of offspring.

Trained contractors have already been searching for pairs and nesting sites and are hoping to complete the addling program by mid-May.

“Like so many communities in southern B.C., communities along the Okanagan Valley struggle with management of non-migratory Canada Geese,” said Kate Hagmeier, program co-ordinator. “It is important to stress that the nesting birds targeted in this program are not native to the region. These are hybrid offspring of several different subspecies of Canada Geese that were introduced in the 1960s and '70s.”

Hagmeier said Canada Geese from elsewhere in Canada and the U.S. were brought to the Okanagan to encourage the creation of a goose population.

She said what was not foreseen was the inability of these geese to migrate because they had no parents or natural triggers to guide them. They could also adapt and thrive in the mild Okanagan climate.

The consequences have been a steadily growing population with few natural controls.

Egg addling involves shaking eggs or coating them with non-toxic biodegradable food-grade corn oil within 14 days of incubation to make them non-viable.

Once addled, eggs are returned to the nest. Geese continue to incubate until they realize the eggs will not hatch. Adults are not harmed.

The public is asked:

  • to report lone geese, pairs of geese, or nest locations on private or public land by emailing [email protected] or calling 1-877-943-3209
  • to keep away from goose nests and to avoid touching the eggs

During the past 10 years of the program, more than 13,000 eggs have been prevented from hatching.

The egg addling program covers all of Okanagan.

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