Pattye Benson

Community Matters

East Goshen Township

East Goshen Township’s Handling of Canada Geese Problem

Have you heard about some of the local companies hiring trained dogs and their handlers to chase Canada Geese from their properties? I don’t know how often the dogs are on the properties and whether it is successful. My husband’s employer Unisys routinely hires a company, ‘Geese Police’ but, according to Jeff, these policing dogs have not proven to be entirely successful. From the Geese Police website, “. . . “Policing” geese takes time, patience, and the help of some very talented canine assistants: our working Border Collies. This breed of dog is both hardworking and extremely intelligent, and exhibits a natural instinct to herd. While other breeds need the gratification of catching their prey, working Border Collies are satisfied by the mere opportunity to stalk. . . “

I know that Canada Geese are a problem in Tredyffrin; in fact, it is amazing how many times I see them stop traffic on Rt. 252 as they slowly walk across the 4 lane road. Also I see the geese quite often by the township building, on Chesterbrook Boulevard and in Wilson Farm Park. Apparently, the geese gravitate to areas with ponds or standing water.

I found it interesting that East Goshen Township this week decided on their own action plan to deal with the Canada Geese problem. East Goshen has signed an agreement with the US Department of Agriculture. The federal government will come in to the township and remove 50% of the geese, or up to 300 birds from the open space. The birds will be killed and the meat donated to charity. Unclear how the killing will take place, ugh . . . perhaps it is better that I not know.

East Goshen is enrolled in the government’s Resident Canada Geese Program which requires that the local authorities take steps to discourage the birds for at least three years. The USDA recommendations to East Goshen included addling the birds eggs — coating the eggs with oil to kill the embryo — installing temporary fencing around ponds, and using balloons and wood dog silhouettes to keep the geese from nesting. The township has been enrolled in the program for 4 years and may now legally ask for the removal of the birds.

East Goshen Township will be charged $6,111 for the Canada Geese removal and the wildlife agents will arrive in June. The geese are rounded up in June because geese molt in June and lose their ability to fly.

I didn’t understand why it took the federal government’s involvement to help with the Canada Geese problem so I did a bit of research. I discovered that Canada Geese are federally protected and can only be killed during duck hunting season. Canada Geese are protected under the Federal Migratory Bird Act of 1918. This Act makes it illegal to harm or injure a goose and damage or move its eggs and nest, without a Federal permit. Not complying with the Federal Act can result in fines ranging from $5,000 to $10,000 and this also applies to an untrained dog’s actions. This explains why the federal agency, USDA will be handling East Goshen’s Canada Geese problem.

Probably more information than you ever needed, but I was fascinated with the Canada Geese background . . . who knew that these geese have been protected since 1918 by Federal law? Amazing!

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