They're famous for flying in a V pattern and heading south for the winter but instead of migrating geese are staying here creating a population problem.
The milder winters and green grass keep the birds from leaving. Making them permanent residents of Rockford.
Wayne Bakke of the Rockford Park District says, “There’s been a problem with geese for 7 to 8 years. We were trying to see what we could do about the population especially around our rec paths."
That’s where Geese Peace comes in. It's an organization that uses Border Collie dogs to scare away the birds.
“Push the birds off site into water hopefully they'll fly a little further away north or south.” said Bakke
“We hit them from different sides so they don’t get use to us coming from one area.” Said Geese Peace dog handler Juan Martinez
In addition to the dogs a process called egg oiling is also used. A nest of geese eggs is located and at least two people approach the nest with spread arms acting as larger predators.
The eggs are then covered with corn oil. The oil cuts off the pores surface so oxygen can no longer get in preventing the eggs from hatching. The eggs are later removed and buried.
“If we take one or two nests we cut down the population by 12 birds” says Bakke
Six to four hundred geese use to permanently live in Rockford but over the last five years that numbers been cut down to around 200 thanks to Geese Peace.
In June the park district plans to use both boats and dogs to try and push the birds south. Otherwise the birds will lose their flight feathers and will be forever grounded in the area.