Please enlarge photo of gander guarding goslings in May 2007.
The best thing would be for Bella Vista residents to learn to value and enjoy having wildlife around. But, if the lack of understanding of nature and natural resources can't be overcome, then there is an accepted and humane and sustainable way to deal with the perceived overpopulation of Canada geese on Bella Vista Lakes:
Eat the eggs. Forget the oiling. Think about that on your next visit to the egg counter at the grocery store. A dozen goose eggs is equivalent to more than two dozen extra-large chicken eggs and the flavor is at least as good!
Actually getting close enough to a pair of geese to rob the nest likely will give a person a lot more respect for the geese, which not only do not abort their young but will fight to protect them and mate for life!
The Morning News
Group To Oil Goose Eggs
By Anna Fry
THE MORNING NEWS
BELLA VISTA -- The Bella Vista Property Owners Association will start oiling Canada goose eggs this year in an attempt to slow population growth, the association's general manager said.
GeesePeace, a nonprofit group that promotes nonlethal methods to control problem goose populations, visited the community last fall. Representatives provided a suggested plan that included egg oiling and chasing the geese with a border collie. The feces of Bella Vista's estimated 1,000 resident geese fouls lakes and golf courses.
Oiling means coating eggs with corn oil to seal pores so oxygen can't get in and biological processes stop. That's only done to eggs in which the embryos haven't developed lungs.
Association officials hope to set up a volunteer program where a team adopts a designated area, Bailey said. People who spot goose nests could report them to team members. The members could map the nests and later oil them.
Egg oiling is the best way to stop reproduction, said Darrell Bowman, the association's lake ecology and fisheries manager. The problem is the geese imprint in the area they are born and will stay rather than migrating.
The association will start at least trying to stop reproduction and hope over time the goose population will decline, Bowman said.
GeesePeace's report suggested oiling eggs in April. The report then suggested "site aversion" between mid-May and early June. Site aversion is making areas inhospitable to geese.
The report recommended using a border collie to flush geese from parks, lakes and golf courses. The border collie would cost $4,500, according to the report.
The association's board would have to discuss whether to use a collie in the future because that'll cost the association more, Bailey said.
He thinks it's unlikely the association will get enough volunteers to house the dog and take it out to flush all the lakes and golf courses. If not enough people volunteer, the association would have to add staff, Bailey said.
"The best world would be that volunteers would run the program and we would just coordinate," Bailey said.
Bella Vista has about 1,000 acres of lakes. GeesePeace's program has been used at smaller locations, Bailey said.
GeesePeace Director David Feld said that Bella Vista's size wouldn't make flushing the birds problematic. The program has seen success at larger locations including some that are countywide, he said.
"You're small," Feld said. "You're easy, probably one of the easiest places we're dealing with."
Bella Vista would be pretty successful controlling the goose population through egg oiling and no site aversion, Feld said. Many GeesePeace-assisted areas solely do egg oiling, which is sufficient for them, Feld said.
Without goslings, the geese won't be tied to the area. But a site aversion program would be helpful in the first year because the birds would think they need to find another place to molt, he said. Geese can't fly during molting season.
The association's board was to discuss the report at a meeting Thursday.