The City of Santa Clara is dealing with a big problem with poop. Goose poop to be exact. They’re about to start a method of goose birth control to help contain the problem. Officials say that the 176 Canadian geese who have migrated and made permanent homes around the water fountain at Central Park are dropping an estimated one pound of poop every day. Quick math tells us that equals 176 pounds of droppings every day which is more than two and a half tons of goose droppings a month and more than 63,000 pounds a year.
Residents can’t enjoy the park’s views because they're too busy staring at the ground. “As I was coming around, I just got into a bunch of poop. I was kind of like watching everywhere I was stepping so I wouldn’t get any poop on the bottom of my shoes,” park walker Addie Swift told KPIX. Another park-goer, Harrison Aronoff, told KPIX, “It’s a really peaceful place, but having to look where you’re stepping is kind of annoying. I think they could clean it up and make it look much nicer.”
The City of Santa Clara has tried to get rid of the geese in the past by loudly playing recorded geese distress calls, and setting up decoy coyotes, but those options have failed. “The geese have become accustomed to that almost immediately,” Santa Clara Parks Director James Teixeira told the Mercury News. Part of the problem is the geese have no natural predators in the area to scare off the birds or seek out their eggs.
With permission from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the city of Santa Clara is now turning to a method known as egg addling. Officials will drain the lake, plant tall shrubbery where the geese will lay eggs, then they’ll gather the eggs and kill the embryos inside by coating them with oil, puncturing them with needles, or by simply shaking them. “If you addle them and put them back into the nest, then the adults don’t realize that the eggs are dormant and they will continue to incubate them and nothing will happen,” Matthew Dodder with the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society told the Mercury News.
The process must be done every year to keep the population from growing. Egg addling has proven to be effective in several other parts of the Bay Area but it doesn’t necessarily end the poop problem. The 176 geese that live at Santa Clara's Central Park were once migratory, but they have now settled into permanent homes there and they appear to have no plans to leave.