Goose control program ends

Volunteers still make occasional patrols in city park spaces

While Parksville’s canine goose control pilot program is no longer running, some dogs are still on patrol on a volunteer basis, with the help of a bald eagle.

The canine program started by dog trainer Judith Whitemarsh officially ran for about a year and despite some success, was not restarted after it was suspended for the early 2010 nesting season.

Since then volunteers trained by Whitemarsh have continued on local fields in Community and Springwood parks with dogs trained to chase Canadian geese but not attack them.

More recently Anne Murphy and Eddie the Eagle have been working with the city to chase away the geese. Murphy is a fully licensed and experienced falconer and has had good results as well as gathering an appreciative audience when they work in the park.

Whitemarsh explained last year that the geese eventually get tired of the rude interruptions and stop going to those areas.

Non-migratory geese have lived in the region for years, protected by the Migratory Birds Convention Act, but due to overpopulation they have become a nuisance. Large flocks compete with other waterfowl, overgraze and litter fields with droppings and feathers that pollute water and carry the risk of e-coli.

In late February the geese will begin nesting so there will be few in the park until at least late May.

For more on Murphy and Eddie check www.geesecontrol.org.