Egg addling underway

Spring has sprung and so has the Canada goose nesting season in the Okanagan Valley.

This week marks the beginning of the 13th annual Canada goose egg-addling program as part of the Okanagan Valley Goose Management Program (OVGMP). The addling program continues to prevent explosive growth of the non-migratory resident goose population. In 2018, the OVGMP located 343 nests and addled 1,390 eggs.

Egg addling involves shaking eggs or coating them with non-toxic biodegradable food-grade corn oil within 14 days of incubation to make them non-viable, a process supported by the U.S. Humane Society. Once addled, eggs are returned to the nest. Geese continue to incubate until they realize the eggs will not hatch. By then it is generally too late in the year to produce more eggs. Adults are not harmed and will continue with their regular life cycle.

Nesting geese targeted through the OVGMP are not native to the region. They are hybrid offspring of several different subspecies of Canada geese that were introduced in the 1960s and 70s. Canada geese from elsewhere in Canada and the U.S. were translocated to the Valley as part of managed introduction program.

What was not foreseen was their ability to adapt and thrive in the mild Okanagan climate and their inability to migrate because they had no parents or natural triggers to guide them. The consequences have been a steadily growing population with few natural controls and a need to manage this population.

Since 2007, approximately 3,417 nests have been located and 16,179 eggs have been addled. “We do not expect every goose to hatch and become an adult,” said Kate Hagmeier, Okanagan Valley Goose Management Project Coordinator. “We estimate somewhere close to 12,000 geese have been humanely prevented from adding to the population. Not to mention all their offspring!”

The key to the success of the program is finding new nests. The public is asked to report lone geese, pairs of geese, or nest locations on private or public land by emailing coordinator@okanagangooseplan.com or calling 1-877-943-3209. The public is asked to keep away from goose nests and to avoid touching the eggs.