Penticton ready for a wild goose chase

Penticton has plans to round up and relocate Canada geese from the city's parks and beaches

Possibly as soon as next week, city staff are going to be helping out at an unusual roundup to rid the beach, at least temporarily, of a pest they have been battling for years.

That would be the Canada goose, whose droppings foul beaches and parks throughout the valley. Along with biologists employed under the Okanagan Regional Goose Management program, the city will be rounding up resident geese, banding them and relocating them.

“This is a key time of year, as the geese are in their moulting stage and they don’t fly for about four weeks. That’s why they want to be on our parks and we are constantly shooing them off our parks and cleaning up after them,” said Jeff Lynka, Penticton’s parks supervisor. “It is really this period of time when the geese aren’t flying that they become so persistent on our beaches.”

The roundup and banding program is an extension of the egg addling Penticton, along with other valley communities, has been doing since 2007. The idea is not to eliminate the geese entirely, but to reduce their numbers to a naturally sustainable level of resident geese in the Okanagan Valley and minimize the risk to human health and safety.

“We have noticed in the last couple of years a reduction in the number of geese on the waterfront. It wasn’t unusual for us to see up to double what we are seeing today,” said Lynka. According to the most recent counts, the resident goose population throughout the valley is now around 2,500 to 3,500 geese.

“That’s the same number that was counted prior to the egg addling program beginning, so it’s really encouraging that six years later, we’re not seeing an increase in numbers. Without the egg addling program, it’s fair to say that the number of geese would have doubled, if not tripled,” said Lynka. “Fifty years ago, there were very few, if any, resident geese. We’ve created a great environment, not only for us, but for geese. Many of the things we like — mild winters, nice beaches, clean parks, fresh grass — those are the same things that attract the geese.”

Banding and measuring the geese after they have been rounded up will provide valuable management information about the resident Canada geese, according to Lynka, who added that relocating them at the same time would help keep the beaches clear during the tourist season.

“Right now, we have a group of about 50 geese on the Okanagan waterfront that are being very persistent at coming into our parks and beaches,” said Lynka. In all likelihood, he continued, the adult geese will return when their flight feathers grow back in, though the juveniles accompanying them may not.

“The hope is that the geese will choose not to return. Once our beaches become more populated with people and more activities, the geese tend to stay away,” said Lynka. “If nothing else, we take the geese off the beach for a few weeks when we are at a real critical time of the year, when people are swimming and we have a lot of tourists here.”


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Interior Health update. File photo.
86 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

The new deaths are from Heritage Square, a long-term care facility in Vernon

Sickle Point as seen from the air. (Kaleden Community Association - David Mai)
Second town hall for Sickle Point on Jan. 27

The first town hall was cut short due to technical issues

Nate Brown photo
Okanagan-Shuswap says goodbye sunshine, hello winter

Temperatures are forecasted to drop by mid-next week

The facility in Summerland has 112 long-term care beds. Interior Health funds 75 of the beds. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Six more months for temporary Summerland Seniors Village adminstrator

The temporary administrator was appointed following site visits and concerns from Interior Health

President Donald Trump speaks to the media before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021 in Washington. The President is traveling to Texas. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Black Press Weekly Roundup: Top headlines this week

In case you missed it, here’s what made waves throughout the week

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

A COVID-19 outbreak at Vernon's Heritage Square long-term care home has claimed seven people. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Two more COVID-19 deaths at Vernon care home

Heritage Square has now lost seven people due to the outbreak

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

(Big White Ski Resort photo)
13 more cases of COVID-19 tied to Big White Mountain cluster

This brings the total case count to 175, of which 32 cases are active

RCMP on scene at a home on Sylvania Cres. (Phil McLachlan /Capital News/FILE)
Two Kelowna men arrested after Rutland home invasion

Two Kelowna men, including a prolific offender, facing slew of potential charges

Most Read