By ERIN ROLL
Canada geese are a routine — if not always welcome — sight in some of Montclair’s parks, including along the banks of the pond in Edgemont Park, and the lawn and softball diamonds.
The Montclair Local submitted an open public records request for goose-related invoices between May and September.
According to the invoices, the township spent just over $9,000 on goose control methods at at least two park sites during the spring and summer.
Montclair contracted with Metuchen-based Goose Control Technology for two services: the treatment of eggs in goose nests at two park sites, and the roundup of geese at two park sites. The egg treatment cost a total of $1,750, while the goose roundup cost a total of $3,000.
The invoice did not include information about what was done with the geese once they were captured.
The township has also contracted with Geese Chasers North Jersey. The company brings trained dogs to parks to chase the geese away. For three four-week periods in May, June and July, the township paid for Geese Chasers to conduct hazing of geese with border collies at Edgemont and Yantacaw parks. Each four-week period cost $1,436.
Signs posted at Edgemont Park warn against feeding geese.
According to the New Jersey Agricultural Extension Station at Rutgers, Canada geese in New Jersey tend to be found near lakes, ponds, rivers, open fields, airports and parks. As of 2012, there were more than a million resident Canada geese in the eastern United States, with New Jersey being home to about 81,000 birds.
NJAES notes that the geese may be beneficial to the ecosystem, especially in dispersing seeds through eating nuts and berries, and by being prey for local predators, such as foxes and coyotes. However, NJAES notes that a large population of birds can be a nuisance and a health hazard.
Stephen Toth, of Goose Control Technology, said that his company has been working with Montclair for eight to 10 years. He said that the company provides a number of goose-related services to Montclair, including treating the eggs — or addling — and hazing geese.
The addling of the eggs, in which the eggs are covered with oil and thereby prevented from hatching, is one of the most important things, he said: “If you don’t do that, you end up with a few geese, and then you end up with a lot of geese.” He also noted that there has been a significant decrease in the Canada goose population in Montclair in recent years.
Unlike Geese Chasers, Toth said, Goose Control Technology does not use dogs, but rather other methods such as remote-controlled boats. He also noted that hazing is done during certain times of the year, such as the migration periods, when the geese’s flight feathers are grown in.
He confirmed that the company did one roundup of nuisance geese in Montclair, and that it involved fewer than 25 adult geese.
Captured geese are required to be euthanized as per Fish and Wildlife regulations, Toth said. One reason is that relocating captured geese will not ensure that they won’t make their way back to where they had once been. But the other reason, he said, is that nuisance geese run the risk of spreading avian influenza and other diseases to other birds.