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Geese Release has the experience necessary to practice humane wildlife management for your property management needs. Our team members include a horticulturalist, biologists, trained border collies and expert handlers. With combined experience spanning 30 years in wildlife management, research, landscaping, reforesting, and planning, we are successful in humanely encouraging the flock to seek alternate pastures — guaranteed.

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City uses dogs, fences, plants to trim fowl flock at popular park

By Edward Russo

Appeared in print: Wednesday, Aug 26, 2009
News: Local: Story

It’s tough love for the birds at Eugene’s Alton Baker Park.

The city this week began to take steps to reduce growing numbers of geese and ducks that gather at the park’s duck pond, fouling the water and the ground with their droppings.

A $25,000 construction project, a pair of trained border collies who are making the ponds less hospitable to Canada geese, and a
decision to move domestic white geese to rural areas are the main initiatives.

“Ducks and geese have been in this park ever since it was built,” said Rob Hallett, turf and ground supervisor of the city’s Parks
and Open Space Division. “And we consider them part of this park and an asset, but only as long as their numbers are in check.”

Also, officials hope people stop feeding bread to ducks and geese. Many of the birds have become dependent on the handouts, Hallett said, which encourages them to stay in the park in increasing numbers year-round rather than migrate south each winter.

“They don’t need bread handouts,” he said. “They can survive on their own.”

Officials believe the carbohydrate-rich diet causes some geese to develop “angel wing,” a deformity that can prevent them from
flying.

The city’s efforts on Tuesday were easy to see.

A construction crew worked with an excavator and dump truck to remove a 12-foot-wide section of concrete from the pond’s south bank.

Ducks and geese have easily walked on the concrete to get in and out of the water. This winter, however, the exposed ground on the
south bank will be planted with native trees and grasses, making it more difficult for the waterfowl to use it as an entry point.
Canada geese like an unobstructed view of their surrounding to watch for predators, so city officials hope the vegetation will make
the pond less inviting to the birds.

A 3-foot-tall chain link fence also is to be erected at the top of the bank around the pond, to keep the waterfowl in the pond and
off the surrounding concrete walkways.

While the crews worked, a pair of brown and white border collies, Will and Remi, chased Canada geese from the pond on Monday.

After a dozen noisily honking Canada geese landed in the pond, the dogs’ handler threw a small dock bumper with a rope attached into the water. Remi swam to the floating object and retrieved it, causing the geese to fly away amid more honking.

Jennifer May of Springfield, who was visiting the duck pond with her 2-year-old son, Caden, said the concrete banks around the pond can be covered in geese and duck droppings. And the water in the pond “looks pretty dirty,” she said. “I definitely don’t let my boy touch the water because it’s pretty gross.”

May said she understands why the city wants to reduce the number of birds.

“Usually, there are a lot more geese here than ducks, so it’s nice to see the ducks,” she said.

The city has begun advertising in the Capital Times, a Salem-based, agriculture-oriented weekly newspaper, looking for a rural
landowner to take the flock of white geese that have made the pond and nearby canal their permanent home.

Hallett said the white geese are domesticated birds that have flown to the park or were left there by their owners.

If the city can find a suitable place for the geese, the city would round them up and take them to a new home, Hallett said.

Not every visitor to the duck pond likes the city’s don’t feed the ducks attitude.

“I think you should leave nature alone,” said Evelyn Bellant of Springfield, who was at the park with her 17-year-old-granddaughter,
Chrissy, to feed the ducks. “This is where the (ducks and geese) come. And people enjoy feeding them.”

Hallett knows some people will insist on feeding the birds.

Three new signs telling people to not feed the birds are largely ignored by the public, he said.

But Hallett’s hoping that spreading the word about the harmful effects of feeding waterfowl will change minds. “We’ve had
discussions about going into schools and talking to young children because they can have such an impact” on their parents, he said.