Moncton is having mixed results with its efforts to discourage geese from nesting near two popular walking trails in the city's west end.
Dan Hicks, the director of parks operations, says the number of geese at Centennial Park and Jones Lake has been increasing over the last few years.
"It got to the point where we were counting the problem by how many droppings per square foot and when you get to that level you realize that it's a little bit beyond what people would generally want to interact with," Hicks said.
City council agreed to spend thousands of dollars to try to fix the problem last fall. And this spring, the city tried out two new tactics.
Solar powered lights have been placed in the water around the island at Centennial Park, and in Jones Lake close to West Main Street. The lights, which cost about $500 a piece, flash at night, at the eye level of a goose.
Short fencing has also been set up along the same section of Jones Lake and around the island at Centennial Park. The fencing blocks geese from moving directly between land and water, deterring nesting.
Hicks says at this point, some things are working.
"Certainly at Jones Lake we've seen much less activity there with geese this year," he said.
"At Centennial Park though we did see three nests were successful on the island and we adjusted our fencing around them because we didn't want to trap the goslings on one side of the fence and not allow them access to the water."
Hicks says he's not sure why the results are varied. It could be related to the different environments, or the fencing might not have gone up early enough in the spring.
As for where the geese may have ended up, Hicks says some have been spotted behind the St. George Blvd fire station. He hopes others have found more suitable spots in estuaries and marshes along the Petitcodiac River.
"Our intention wasn't to declare war on the geese, it was just a matter of having the park spaces be less frequented by them so they'll have less conflict with people." he said.
And while there may be fewer geese at Jones Lake right now, Hicks says they'll likely be back.
"Once the goslings are able to take flight and they fledge and they become adult geese then they'll have their pick of buffets all across this great city and it'll be no surprise for me to see them flocking back to the Jones Lake area later on for a snack," he said.
Hicks says each year is a learning experience, and they'll evaluate how these methods worked at the end of the season.
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