Complaints of the increasing amount of geese excrement in Redwood Shores finally reached its way to City Hall Monday night. To reduce the large amounts of geese waste left by the increasing population of birds, the city council voted to allow residents to pursue permits from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service so they can remove empty nests and use several methods to prevent the eggs from hatching.
Before the amended ordinance, residents were legally powerless to control what many viewed as a nuisance and potential public health hazard. The costs to remove the waste also created an economic problem at a time when city budgets are already strained.
Additionally, the species competes with and was crowding out native and migrating species for habitat and resources, according to the Redwood Shores Homeowners Association. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Division of Migratory Bird Management identified the Canada geese as a “nuisance species” along with several other birds.
Property owners must first register online for a “U.S. Depredation Permit” before taking any action on the eggs. Register for the permit here.
Residents are urged to use these methods to remove eggs on their private property, in order of preference:
Oiling: Eggs must be removed from the nest and marked with a grease pencil or permanent marker. Then they should be covered with a coat of food grade 100 percent corn oil, then replaced in the nest. Only 100 percent corn oil will prevent the eggs from hatching. Replacing them in the nest will trick the hen to continue incubating the eggs.
Puncturing: Eggs can be punctured with a large pin or device, then marked with a grease pencil or permanent marker.
Shaking: The least desirable method, shaking the egg vigorously for five minutes, or until sloshing is heard, disrupts the egg and prevents hatching.
At the end of the season, property owners must report any actions they took against geese, nests or eggs. Failure to register or report action could result in the suspension of the program for Redwood Shores. Residents cannot perform any action in public areas.
Removing Geese from Property
Property owners can remove geese from the property as long as they do not touch the fowl.
Water Hoses: You may hose the geese with water.
Dogs: Property owners may release their dogs from leashes but must remain on the property and under control of the owner. It is recommended that the dog be muzzled, because owners can be charged by the CA Dept. of Fish & Game or the US Fish and Wildlife Services if the dog harms or kills a goose.
Screachers: Residents may use electronic noisemakers that mimic the sounds of eagles or hawks, which are natural predators. The “noises” from these devices are generally at a low enough level that most humans can barely perceive them or will hear them only as background “natural” sounds.
What Can Everyone Do?
The city will be posting “no feeding” signs in public parks and other spots. The city is encouraging businesses and the Homeowners Association
Stop feeding the birds – A Redwood City ordinance and state law prohibit the feeding of birds. Feeding encourages the birds to return to the feeder and disrupts natural patterns.
Residents can mark off areas with short, 15 to 18 inch fences to prevent geese from moving waterways to their feeding areas. Single strand fencing is often times enough of a deterrent.
Geese are also attracted to freshly cut, short lawns. A taller fescue type grass only needs to be cut two to three times a year and are less attractive to geese.
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