By Morgan Pilz, Staff Writer
(May 2, 2019) The steep decline in the resident goose population at Ocean Pines’ ponds, following the eradication of a large year-round flock last June, has negated the need for another round-up and removal this spring.
Canada geese, once a protected species, has taken up residence in the state in overwhelming numbers in recent decades, electing not to migrate north. The result has been that resident geese are considered as invasive by some people and organizations, and a nuisance species by many more.
Last June, the Ocean Pines Association announced it had “contracted with the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Wildlife Services for the removal of resident Canada geese as a part of the USDA’s wildlife damage management project.”
The subsequent euthanizing of hundreds of Canada geese caused an outcry by some residents in the community, despite the problems the birds created.
Last fall, the board of directors brought in the Maryland Geese Control. The company prevented geese from returning by using border collies to patrol the two ponds by the north and south gates.
Plans to employ the company’s services again this spring were abandoned by the board of directors because the resident goose population has remained so small, Director Steve Tuttle said.
“We had planned to have this company return this spring, but there did not seem to be any need as the goose population was small enough that it was felt no further action was required at this time,” Tuttle said. “OPA has done nothing this spring to impact the goose population in any way. Signs were also posted last fall asking people not to feed the geese. This may have helped some geese to move on to more fruitful areas.”
Residents also were alarmed by the sight of dead fish in the water recently, leading some to suggest a poison might have been used to eliminate the geese and affected the aquatic life instead. Tuttle said that is not the case.
“As to the dead fish … I have heard the same report and seen some pictures,” Tuttle said. “My understanding is this is related to algae growth and a reduction of oxygen in the water causing some fish to die. I am confident that OPA has done nothing that would cause the death of the fish.”