The BHNA needs your opinion. The Canada goose population at Harriman Circle Park has been increasing significantly in spring and summer. We’d like to know how you feel about the best-management strategy proposed below to stabilize the size of the Canada Geese flock and encourage an increase in the numbers and types of songbirds, butterflies, and aquatic life in Harriman Park.
A Brief History
- Previously, Harriman Pond had a well-established vegetated buffer and there were few geese in Harriman Park.After the pond was dredged, reshaped, and the pond’s vegetative buffer mostly removed, the goose population steadily climbed to 25-30 birds.Recently, after a very successful breeding season, the population grew to over 50 birds at nesting season and it’s been as high as 75.
- Recently, No Feeding signs were installed around the park.The signs point out the problems with feeding geese.(Children feeding geese with bread is not encouraged, but is OK.)The geese population is now down to 20-30.
- The BHNA and City Parks has received an increased number of complaints about goose poop; geese crossing roads (Armistead, Marston, and Centerville); geese disturbing garden plantings in yards; and aggressive goose behavior from park visitors and Betton residents.
A Few Geese Facts
- An adult Canada goose eats up to four pounds of grass and drops two pounds of fecal matter a day.
- A Canada goose typically returns to its birth/nesting site every year.
- Many Canada geese no longer migrate.They become resident to an area once they nest and raise goslings. This creates problems when they are enticed to stay (being fed) and/or if the landscape meets their preferred conditions: wide-open areas of lush, freshly mowed lawns with unrestricted access to an open body of water.
- Established goose populations tend to increase by 20% a year.
The proposed management approach uses a passive way to restrict geese easy access to and from the pond: allow a grassy meadow (10-14” height), 8-10 feet wide, to grow around pond’s margin. Restricting easy access to and from the pond means fewer geese are drawn to the park.
The meadow can be enhanced by a narrow swath of native aquatic plants near the shore, such as sedges, bulrushes, etc. The meadow and aquatic plants attract more songbirds and pollinators to the pond and create fish nurseries.