Too many geese: Mill Creek working to lessen geese population


YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Wednesday in Mill Creek Park — with a cold wind pushing the water of Lake Glacier — we found a pair of Canada geese nestled in the snow.

They caused no problems on this day, but Canada geese are an issue.

“We certainly have evidence of their overpopulation based on their droppings [and] based on vegetation that’s being denuded around lakes and ponds,” said Steve Avery, planning and development director of Mill Creek MetroParks.

To help the Canada geese, on Tuesday, the Mill Creek commissioners approved seeking a permit from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to allow for the addling of geese eggs — where the eggs are removed and either shaken or pierced and swirled to prevent the embryo from developing.

Mill Creek has been addling since 2010. Last year, 360 eggs were aborted in 80 nests.

“I’m OK with it as long as they have done their due diligence and have done all the other things leading up to that,” said Jeff Harvey, president of the local Audubon Society.

The Audubon Society — which focuses on the conservation of birds — brought up the 2014 euthanizing of 200 geese, wondering why it wasn’t enough.

“But I would think that if they had gone through and done everything they need to do, then the population should be maintained relatively low,” Harvey said.

“Part of the overabundance is the public feeding the geese,” Avery said.

Avery says signs are posted around the park urging people not to feed the geese. They’ve also tried using lasers at night and pyrotechnics to scare them away.

“But for any of those to be effective, you have to do them on a regular basis,” he said.

Which is hard in a park the size of Mill Creek.

“They’ll fly to the other end of the lake or the other side of the lake,” Avery said.

There are no plans to count the Canada geese in Mill Creek Park — which Harvey says needs to be done. He suggests a count to verify how many geese are in the park and how many are acceptable.

“Somebody has to come up with an acceptable number,” Harvey said. “Otherwise you’re going to be throwing resources and money at this continuously and not getting the results you want.”