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Goose population boom creates messy situation at park

By Len Ramirez

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    SANTA CLARA, California (KPIX) — A goose population boom is creating a messy situation at Central Park in Santa Clara.

The park’s pathways and the grassy knolls are stained and spotted with goose droppings and park users say it can be hard to get around cleanly.

“As I was coming around, I just got into a bunch and bunch of poop,” said Addie Swift who described a walk in the park that became something foul.

“I was kind of like watching everywhere I was stepping so I wouldn’t get any poop on the bottom of my shoes,” Swift told KPIX 5.

The city estimates there are 176 non-native Canada Geese that live in Central Park and each drop about a pound of waste per day. In a year’s time, that adds up to 63,000 pounds of poop in a park where people walk, and children play.

“It’s a really peaceful place, but having to look where you’re stepping is kind of annoying. I think they could clean it up and make it look much nicer,” said Harrison Aronoff who also went for a walk in the park.

City crews have tried cleaning it up and scaring away the geese, but they always return.

A decorative pond in the center of the park was drained partially because of the goose problem.

Now the city is working with a wildlife biologist on a plan to “addle” the goose eggs, which is to snatch newly laid eggs and coat them in oil to prevent the embryo from developing. Then the eggs would be placed back in the nest.

“If the eggs were simply removed, they would replace them with new eggs and we’d have the same problem,” Matthew Dodder of the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society told KPIX 5.

Basically, addling the eggs tricks the mother goose.

“The adults have no idea that they are not going to develop, so they continue to incubate them. And they are basically wasting their time, nothing is going to happen,” Dodder said.

The Audubon Society said addling the eggs is the most humane way of controlling the goose population.

Once migratory, the Canada Geese have settled into a California lifestyle and experts said they aren’t going anywhere.

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