For Immediate Release
October 04, 2013
Parks and Recreation
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The Boston Parks and Recreation Department has released figures for the 2013 egg addling program undertaken by the Boston Park Rangers.
The program targets Canada geese that have taken over many local ponds and rivers and can be seen at parks and golf courses throughout New England. In addition to fouling our parks, the geese eat up grass seed and often chase people. Large numbers of the Canada geese that used to fly south for the winter now stay north, partly because hunters bred the migration instinct out of them and also because so many people feed them.
As part of their public education efforts, the Boston Park Rangers stress the harmful effects of feeding wild waterfowl such as Canada geese. Feeding the waterfowl discourages the birds from migrating to other locations for proper natural food sources and fails to provide them with the proper nutrients needed for their health.
Mayor Thomas M. Menino and his counterparts in other cities are trying to find safe, humane ways to deal with the geese that will limit their numbers without hurting them. Nets and traps are considered too cruel and picking the geese up and moving them is against the law. In the past, the Parks Department enlisted the aid of a team of Border Collies to chase the geese away.
That program has been discontinued and the Boston Park Rangers have since practiced egg addling, a process of coating eggs found in nests with a thin layer of vegetable oil and placing them back in the nest. The regulations are very strict and addling can only be done to eggs that are unfertilized and won’t hatch into a gosling.
Nesting takes place from late March to mid to late May during which time the Rangers, who have been trained to distinguish between fertilized and unfertilized eggs, seek out and oil the eggs they find that are not viable.
In May the Rangers start to come across nests that have either been abandoned because the eggs didn't take naturally or nests that did take and cannot be treated as there is a viable gosling fetus inside the egg. At this point the addling season is over and the figures are reported to the Massachusetts Department of Fisheries and Wildlife by October 31.
According to this year’s report, a total of 422 goose eggs were found in 81 nests at the Back Bay Fens, Jamaica Pond, Franklin Park, Olmsted Park, and Chandler Pond in Brighton. The total number of eggs addled was 291. Of those, only four hatched and a fifth was found with a gosling still in the process of hatching. Seven nests were abandoned during the season and seven geese were banded and/or collared for tracking purposes. In addition, five dead adult geese were found.