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Rockford Park district wants volunteers to harass geese

February 07, 2012 at 07:02 PM

Rockford Register-Star

The Rockford Park District wants to put residents and their dogs on a volunteer patrol meant to keep geese from taking over parks and paths.

The Park District announced Tuesday it’s looking for 40 to 100 volunteers for its program meant to control the population of Canada geese.

The district has two trained Border Collies, named Jett and Flash, handled by Kathy Hauser-Eldridge to herd geese without harming them. The two dogs also have specially made life vests so they can chase the geese into water.

“With the help of these canines, we have greatly reduced the amount of geese that inhabit our parks, recreation paths and facilities, but we need some new dogs who are not recognized by our resident birds,” said Ron Butler, deputy director of operations for the Park District.

Volunteers and their dogs will be given similar training to move geese out of unwanted areas in order to reduce the number of droppings residents have to step around and weave through in parks and on recreational paths.

“The more the geese get scared of all the dogs, the better it is for us, because when a dog comes by they’ll take off (away) from the path. That’s less droppings that they leave behind,” Hauser-Eldridge said.

The volunteers will help the Park District increase its patrols at no cost, saving the Park District about $7,000, Butler said.

Goose management is a 12-month a year job because the parks have some resident geese that don’t migrate, but the needs especially pick up around March 1, Butler said.

The district also continues to reduce the population through egg addling, the practice of coating the eggs in corn oil to deprive the embryo of oxygen and kill it. The method prevents female geese from laying new eggs because they try to incubate the oiled eggs, which do not hatch.

In the 11-year history of the Park District, about 140,000 eggs have been addled, Butler said.

The Park District also reminds residents not to feed the geese, which encourages them to stay put and can effect their health and ability to fly.

To volunteer, visit or call Kim O’Malley, volunteer coordinator, at 815-987-1608 or e-mail her at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Your CommentsComments :: Terms :: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Why not open the limits up a bit.  Let the hunters take care of this problem.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/08 at 09:24 AM

The mental picture I got while reading this has me LMAO I mean did Daffy Duck hatch this fiasco.
Does anyone else see the irony in not harming the geese but aborting (killing) their young? Talk about your chickens coming home to roost. I agree with congo open it up harvest some birds the rest will get the picture.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/08 at 10:30 AM

Problem with the park geese, is that they roost in refuge, and feed in refuge. And then their offspring learn to return to the same refuges.  Hunters never even have a chance at them.

These park geese have already lost their fear of humans. It’s only a matter of time before they are conditioned to the presence of dogs too.

Close the parks, and open them to hunters!!!! (like that’ll ever happen…)

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 02/08 at 11:19 AM

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