YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Wildlife experts with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and U.S. Department of Agriculture conducted a controlled euthanization of a flock of Canada geese at Mill Creek Park Thursday.
Crews from the departments and park officials met around 4:45 a.m. Thursday at the Lily Pond to begin the process of rounding up the birds. Crews also went to other locations in the park, including Lake Glacier, where the birds have become a nuisance.
Wildlife experts say the birds can be aggressive and carry toxins that are dangerous to humans. Areas where the birds stay become unusable because of the birds’ waste and behavior.
Brian Kay with ODNR’s Division of Wildlife said when the birds are fed by park goers, they become resident geese which disturbs their migratory instinct.
“We have been dealing with them for so many years. We know the history here and we know the situation and it was something that would be beneficial to the park,” said Kay.
WKBN First News cameras were only permitted in the staging area away from the Lily Pond and Lake Glacier where a trailer was stationed to hold the birds where they were euthanized with carbon dioxide.
The first round-up included about 35 geese from the pond. Crews then moved to Lake Glacier were about 65 geese were taken. The process was complete by noon.
Mill Creek Park representatives Kristen Peetz and Samantha Villella were on hand during the process. Peetz said some people were wondering why park officials didn’t just relocate the geese, but she said that wasn’t an option because it would just be moving the problem somewhere else.
“The fact that people are feeding them attracts large numbers of geese in high concentrations that is not natural,” said Peetz. “They are urban geese, not wild. Moving them somewhere else is just moving the problem to someone else’s property.”
Several signs are posted through the park warning people not to feed the geese, and flyers have been passed out encouraging park goers to “keep our wildlife wild.”
“We know people have grown up doing it and that is part of the nostalgia of the MetroParks. We understand that, but it is something we are trying to educate everyone on,” said Villella.
According to ODNR, congregating geese can cause a number of problems. Damage to landscaping can be significant and expensive to repair or replace, while large amounts of excrement can render swimming areas, parks, golf courses, lawns, docks, and patios unfit for human use. Since they are active grazers, they are particularly attracted to lawns and ponds located near apartment complexes, houses, office areas and golf courses. Geese can rapidly denude lawns, turning them into barren, dirt areas.
Geese are particularly aggressive during breeding and nesting season. Their behavior can cause problems when geese attack and nip at people trying to enjoy the park.