It may not be easter for another week, but the hunt is on for more than just the chocolate eggs the bunny has left out.
For the eighth year, communities throughout the Okanagan are beginning the Canada Goose egg addling program and are looking for property owners help in locating nests in their quest to manage the valley’s resident goose population.
“It’s having a very positive effect,” said Jeff Lynka, parks supervisor for Penticton, who estimates there are 6,000 fewer geese in the Okanagan thanks to the addling program.
“Without the addling program, we can only imagine what the goose population would be.”
The geese aren’t native to the valley, but were introduced in the 60s and 70s to encourage the creation of an Okanagan goose population.
What was not foreseen was their ability to adapt to and thrive in the mild Okanagan climate and their inability to migrate because they had no natural parents to teach them how.
As a result, the number of geese has grown with few natural controls, creating a need to manage this population.
The Okanagan Valley Goose Management program works to control the reproductive output of Canada geese, particularly in public spaces.
Trained contractors identify mating pairs and nesting sites and will complete the addling program by the end of May.
Key to the program, said Lynka, is public participation in finding new nests.
“It is just a few weeks when they are nesting and the more reports we get, the better job we can do,” he said.
Lone geese, pairs of geese, or nest locations on private or public land can be reported by e-mailing email@example.com or calling 1-877- 943-3209.
The public is also asked to keep away from goose nests and to avoid touching the eggs.
Lynka said an additional program, where geese are rounded up and relocated in the early summer has also been successful, though he isn’t sure if it will be repeated this year.
“We’ve done relocation in two summers, 2012 and 2013,” he said.
“It temporarily removes the geese off swimming beaches for a period of a few weeks in the early summer.
“Only about half of them have come back.”
The others, he said are choosing to stay in their new, relocated homes.
“I think overall, not only in Penticton, but throughout the valley, we are all experiencing fewer geese on our beaches and waterfront parks,” said Lynka.
“Our goal is not to eliminate the goose population, it is just to manage the species from some of our sensitive areas, like our waterfronts and our beaches.”