Battling Geese in the Stateline

By: Max Seigle
By: Max Seigle

Pat Beam and her grandchildren picnic Tuesday at Martin Park in Rockford. They enjoy the ducks...and usually see the geese. But on this day...only what the geese left behind. "You not only have to watch where you walk but also check your shoes at the door when you go home because shoes need an inspection after being down here," Beam said. Martin Park is a hot spot for Canadian geese...so is the Sportscore in Rockford. These birds have made the Stateline home as IIllinois' geese population, numbered at around 105,000, spread out from the Chicago area. "It's something I believe the park district is going to deal with for a long time," said Jan Herbert with the Rockford Park District. But the Park District isn't letting the birds have their way. They're using this Border Collie unit to divert geese away from popular areas. Another tool the park district is using to control the goose population is a laser pointer. They point it at a goose and when another one in the flock sees the light, it scares them away. Herbert adds one other tactic that's legal and actually reduces the number of geese....dipping geese eggs in corn oil to halt development. "If we hadn't done anything, we'd have 2,000 more birds today and that would be a little frightening," Herbert said. These measures are making geese less of a nuisance in our area....and they're used in other parts of Illinois. Our state hasn't reached a point of euthanizing geese like in Wisconsin...but we probably won't see them go away anytime soon. State bird experts say the geese population in Illinois hasn't changed too much in the past decade. But there have been more complaints about them as the birds leave the Chicago area.


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