Update: Canadian Goose Population In Waverley West
If you are noticing an increase in populations of geese in Waverley West this year – you are correct. According to City Staff who focus on our urban geese: See Data on Waverley West geese and ponds.
According to Kristin Tuchscherer, Naturalist – Education Coordinator for the City of Winnipeg:
The City has 195 retention basins/ponds that we monitor goose populations at each year. Naturalized ponds have less geese than conventional ponds.
There are likely a couple of factors in play for Waverley West:
Location – Proximity to nesting sites:
- The largest concentration of nesting Canada geese in the City of Winnipeg is along Kenaston and Bishop Grandin.
- Although we do egg removals to improve traffic safety each spring on this stretch, because of land owner permissions, we can never remove all of the eggs.
- The nesting area is not where the geese raise their brood, they move to retention basins with mown grass, wide open views and easy access to water.
- The closest ponds to this main nesting area are in Waverley West
- Naturalized ponds in the Bridgwater neighbourhoods are nesting locations as well, but they are not ideal brood-rearing locations (no food (short, mown grass), limited access to water due to cattails). I should note, we saw an increase in geese in the Bridgwater area this year, typically at ponds that are adjacent to mown parkland.
Changes in Land Use:
- Development of the former sugar beet lands on Bishop Grandin, this area had many, many nests each spring (adding this area to the egg removal program in 2014 increased the number of nests from around 200 to over 300 nests).
- As the sugar beet lands have been developed, the nesting area has been drastically reduced. We no longer have permission to remove eggs from the area.
- Once the land is changed to be unsuitable for nesting, geese will adjust where they nest but it will be nearby. Female geese return to the area where they were hatched to reproduce.
- Geese that nested at the former sugar beet lands may have found new nest locations nearby and are no longer within the egg removal program area.
- We are going to survey naturalized ponds in Bridgwater in the spring to see how many nests are there. We did this in 2014, but it turned up very few nests. It is worth assessing again due to land use change in the area.
Feeding of Geese:
- Anywhere geese are fed the damage to the grass and the concentration of waste is much greater.
- Geese when fed, are not limited by the available food in the area, and will not move around to find new sources of food.
- The Canadian Wildlife Service commissioned a report on the health hazards related to Canada geese, the report notes that there isn’t much data available to have any conclusive results about hazards to humans.
- Goose waste can contain bacteria and viruses, but the method of infection is typically ingestion. Most experts in the field indicate that normal hygiene practices are sufficient to reduce any possible disease transmission.
- Closures related to public use of areas occurs mostly at beaches due to droppings and increases in certain bacteria/micro-invertebrates in the water (which could be from waterfowl).
There isn’t a program or resources to address droppings. When the grass is mowed on its usual cycle, it can help break up and dry the droppings.
- We will continue to participate as members of the Urban Goose Working Group in the egg removal program each spring along Bishop/Kenaston. The mandate for this egg removal program is related to traffic safety.
- We will survey naturalized ponds for nests in 2020 to see if there is a substantial increase in nest numbers. I should note that egg removals are not favoured by some members of the public.
- This year, we began a naturalization trial around the pond in Southland Park (near the Mint), this was many years in the making and was spurred on by a community desire to reduce goose-related issues.
Also see: City of Winnipeg – Geese