Resident Geese Population Control

This past Saturday, April 25, four volunteers of the Watershed Alliance did oil some goose eggs in nests at the shoreline of Loon Lake in a pilot attempt to moderate the resident goose population on the lake.  No oiling was done without permission of landowners.  We treated the eggs as early as possible in their 28 day incubation period.

We received half a dozen permissions, registered three likely locations with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and located two active nests.  We oiled the eggs present- 5 in one nest and 7 in the other – following protocols as prescribed by USFWS to reduce hatching.  The geese returned as expected to both nests.  We will shortly report our activity, including where eggs were not found, back to Fish and Wildlife.

As a reminder, our two consulting professors have confirmed that our sizable goose population has a major negative impact on Loon Lake’s water quality.  The large nutrient load the geese deposit into the lake is quite detrimental, in addition to the nuisance created on land by flocks of geese.  Intervention with the eggs is probably one of the more humane methods in trying to hold constant or reduce the resident flock.

Have we succeeded with these nests?  We need to determine over the next several weeks if the oiling did indeed keep these eggs from hatching.  The oiling as opposed to destruction of eggs is supposed to keep the geese from laying a new clutch of eggs.  But will they they lay some more eggs?  Are there nests we were not advised of and did not find?  Are there broods coming to the lake from nearby nests?  Why were the number of eggs per nest less than the normal broods of 9-12 as were on the lake last year?  Were some eggs taken by predators such as coyotes?  Were the geese still actively laying eggs?  These are all questions we will try to answer as time goes on.

Our thanks to those who gave permission for this pilot project, and to our volunteers.

– Eric Busch=