Smaller flock on lakes reported
By Angie Landsverk
A change in the patterns of local geese resulted in the city of Waupaca canceling the roundup planned for this summer.
“We will revisit it next year and see what the geese do,” said Aaron Jenson, the city’s parks and recreation director.
Each summer, geese lose their flight feathers for about a three-week period.
That is when roundups are thus scheduled in communities.
Waupaca’s geese roundup was scheduled to take place Tuesday, June 27, on Mirror and Shadow lakes.
Other areas of the city, including Rotary Riverview Park and the Brainards’s Bridge Park area, were considered as well.
“A week prior to that, we sent the parks staff out to scout the areas,” Jenson said.
Staff looked at South Park’s boat landing.
Lifeguards were also sent out on kayaks to scope properties around the lake, as 16 property owners gave the city permission to go on their property, he said.
“We also looked at Brainard’s Bridge,” Jenson said. “We had a huge population of 50 to 60 earlier this summer that were traveling to neighboring properties.”
As it got closer to the scheduled roundup date, staff noticed there were not as many geese in those areas.
“For the first time since I’ve been here, (as a full-time city parks and rec employee), which is about six years, we noticed they changed their patterns,” Jenson said.
He began noticing that about three weeks ago.
“We would see 10 in areas where we were seeing 50 to 60 in the spring,” Jenson said.
On Monday, June 26, a parks and rec crew scouted areas of the city again and saw about 20 geese flying overhead, he said.
Jenson talked to Mike Jones, a wildlife biologist with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Wildlife Services.
The USDA did a geese roundup in Waupaca in 2011 and was scheduled to the June 27 roundup as well.
The department caught and removed 29 geese in 2011, which was the first time the city did a roundup.
Jones told Jenson everything seemed to happen earlier this spring. He also noted it is not typical for geese to change their patterns.
When the USDA goes into a community to do a geese roundup, in order for it to be successful, there must be geese on the property for a one to two-hour window, Jenson said.
“With the minimal geese around at the time it was scheduled, we decided to not spend the resources on getting that number of birds,” Jenson said.
When the USDA does a geese roundup, it captures, removes and euthanizes the geese.
The geese are then tested for mercury and lead before they are processed.
Communities typically donate the meat to food pantries.
Waupaca Common Council voted in favor of the roundup last May at a cost not to exceed $3,500.
Jenson said the city received $1,700 in donations toward that cost.
He will write a letter to the donors, letting them know their donations may be refunded or earmarked for a geese roundup in 2018.
“We suspect they will return to their normal patterns,” Jenson said.
He said the city does not want to see a large population of geese on its lakes and beach.
Last summer, the department worked with the Waupaca County Health Department to conduct testing for E. coli and other bacteria considered to be health concerns.
It did so after receiving a number of complaints from park users concerned about geese feces at South Park and Rotary Riverview Park.
There is typically a high number of geese on the beach, but this year, the lifeguards are not seeing as many, Jenson said.
He said that is a good thing and that Jones agreed it did not make sense to do the roundup this year.