Friday, April 30, 2010

Ridgewood GeesePeace: Volunteers Improving Our Community Since 2007

Formed in March 2007, Ridgewood GeesePeace is a group of volunteers that recognized the health hazards associated with the unchecked growth of our resident Canada goose population and acted to resolve this wildlife conflict by implementing humane methods endorsed by major national wildlife protection and humane organizations, including: The Humane Society of the United States, the Fund for Animals, PETA and the Doris Day Animal League.

The GeesePeace program comprises three main solutions: Population Stabilization, Geese Exclusion and a No-Feeding Policy.

Population Stabilization

Egg oiling by trained volunteers helps control the resident goose population humanely. Since the program’s inception in 2007 Ridgewood GeesePeace volunteers have oiled 395 eggs in 80 nests within the Village.

What’s the long-term impact of our efforts? In the year 2015 there will be 1,022 fewer adult Canada geese in our immediate area than there would have been absent our continuing egg-oiling program.

Geese Exclusion

Trained dogs chase geese away from areas in which they are in conflict with the community. The Village of Ridgewood has contracted with Tyco Animal Control to harass and chase geese from designated areas that include Graydon Park, Veterans Field and other recreational areas and municipal facilities where their presence is unwanted.

No Feeding Policy

It is unlawful to feed wildlife on any public park or on any other property owned or operated by the Village. [ See Part II, Chapter 105, Article VIII, §§ 105-50 thru 105-54 of the General Code. ]

Geese come to a site for two reasons. First, they like the grass kept short for them by frequent mowing. Secondly, lakes, ponds and other water bodies provide them with safety from land predators. Artificial feeding of the geese exacerbates the problem. During harsh winters some people believe that they need to feed geese, especially when the ground is covered with snow. Geese have plenty of resources to find food for the winter. One way is to fly to warmer areas. They should not be encouraged to stay, when they will naturally find warmer feeding grounds.

Help your community! Report nesting geese to Ridgewood GeesePeace.

Canada geese nest in late March and throughout April. If you see geese nesting or have a nest on your property, don’t chase the geese away or destroy the eggs. The geese will simply lay more eggs in a new location. As a result, Ridgewood GeesePeace may not be able to locate the new nests in time to oil the eggs and the population will continue to grow rather than be reduced.

Report nests in the Village of Ridgewood by calling the Parks & Recreation Department at 201-670-5560.

Report nests in Bergen County parks by calling the McFaul Environmental Center in Wyckoff at 201-891-5571.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Ridgewood Volunteers Making a Difference | 2009 Results

The final numbers are in, and the results are impressive. From late March thru the first week of May, Ridgewood GeesePeace volunteers spread out all over Bergen County to help stabilize the resident Canada goose population in Ridgewood and our surrounding communities. Here are the final results:


97 eggs oiled (22 nests) = 944 fewer adult Canada geese in 8 years* than there would have been absent the GeesePeace egg-oiling program.

BERGEN COUNTY PROPERTIES (County Parks, United Water properties, schools and private property throughout Bergen County excluding Village of Ridgewood):

871 eggs oiled (210 nests) = 8,081 fewer adult Canada geese in 8 years.


968 eggs oiled (232 nests) = 9,023 fewer adult Canada geese in 8 years

*Estimates of unborn Canada geese based on GeesePeace formula, which provides for a 40% survival rate for goslings.

Friday, April 24, 2009

GeesePeace in the News

Local GeesePeace efforts are getting some great press this year.

Read a Bergen Record article reporting on oiling in Saddle Brook, Saturday, April 11.

View the GeesePeace segment of a Star Ledger Live webcast, featuring Ridgewood volunteers oiling in Woodcliff Lake, Monday, April 20. View the entire webcast, which opens with a segment featuring a depredation advocate.

Read a Pascack Valley Community Life article on oiling in Westwood, Tuesday, April 21. Very enthusiastic group of newly trained volunteers in Westwood.

And today, NBC will be covering GeesePeace volunteers oiling in the Saddle River County Park/Otto Pehle Area.

Saddle River County Park/Otto Pehle and Rochelle Park Update

Carla Marcus, a producer for MSNBC, shot some footage of GeesePeace volunteers in action down in Saddle Brook yesterday. The footage will be archived for potential use in future stories about geese, most likely in connection with aircraft "bird strikes," but no segment planned specifically on our work here. In the photo above, Carla is speaking with Peter Both, director of the McFaul Environmental Center in Wyckoff.

26 More Eggs in Seven New Nests

Thanks to Pam Perron and first-timer Penny Boag, who joined Diana Wing, Peter Both and Greg Ulscht to oil eggs in seven new nests Greg located earlier in the week during his daily walks around the park.

Total in these areas to date: 157 eggs in 40 nests. And we're not done yet!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Jane's Excellent Adventure

Jane's excellent egg-oiling adventure crisscrosses Bergen and Passaic Counties.

Last week, Jane sent me a list of the sites she had investigated and patrolled to date, with precise details on nest locations and the number of eggs oiled in each nest. I took a quick glance at it then, but last night I read through the list more thoroughly. I can't believe how many areas Jane has visited throughout Bergen and Passaic counties.

As of April 16, when she sent me the list, Jane had visited 28 general locations from Mahwah in the north down to Lyndhurst in the south, and from Oakland in the west across to Westwood in the east. Within that expanse, Jane had oiled 304 eggs in 69 nests. Wow.

I've decided a graphical representation is the best way to convey the scope of Jane's adventure. We begin at 445 Godwin Avenue, Midland Park, where she has treated several nests around the pond behind the skateboard park. Want to follow along? Just follow the blue line! Or you can read Jane's report.

Saddle River County Park/Pehle Area Update

Greg and I went back to the Parkway side of the Saddle River County Park in Saddle Brook this morning and oiled 35 more eggs in eight new nests, with one nest under construction. That brings the total to 131 eggs in 33 nests in the contiguous Saddle Brook and Rochelle Park areas. View updated map.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Goose Paradise Found, Mystery Solved

Pond and island at end of Emerald Court in Paramus.

PARAMUS, NJ--For the past two years, dedicated GeesePeace volunteers have diligently patrolled along the Saddle River in the Saddle River County Park Wild Duck Pond area between Linwood and East Ridgewood avenues. Nests were found, eggs oiled. Yet each May, much to our collective frustration, goslings would mysteriously appear. Where did they come from?

Mystery Solved

Across the river from the Duck Pond is Emerald Court, a cul-de-sac off Paramus Road. At the end of that cul-de-sac is Goose Paradise--a small but fairly deep pond with an island in it. And like the origins of our current conflict with resident Canada geese, this particular Goose Paradise is entirely man-made. The developers couldn't have built a more welcoming habitat for the geese that have overrun this neighborhood. A deep pond with an island, surrounded by a smorgasbord of meticulously manicured lawns, and well protected by a 5' retaining wall ringing its circumference. All around the bottom of that retaining wall is a rocky ledge that's just wide enough for, you guessed it, Canada goose nests.

So each year, new goslings are born here and their parents lead them down to the county park. But wait--how do they get out of the pond? No way they can scale that 5' retaining wall. The answer? A large drainage pipe that leads from the pond right down into the river. The geese, one of the homeowners explained to me, simply waddle down through that pipe and come out the other end! Nature finds a way.

21 Eggs in Five Nests

After a call from the aforementioned homeowner, who learned about us after reading Mike Kerwick's article in last Sunday's Bergen Record, Diana and Walter Perog and I went over and treated 5 nests. One was on the island, which is easily accessible via a newly built bridge. Three nests were down on the rocky ledge at the bottom of the retaining wall; a ladder was needed to get down to those. The last nest was right up against another homeowners house, just a few feet from his pool. Needless to say, the homeowners were extremely grateful, and now know to call us whenever they see a nest appear.

View a brief slideshow.

Rochelle Park Update

Yesterday I reported on progress we're making in the Saddle Brook and Rochelle Park areas of the Saddle River County Park. Greg and I went back to Rochelle Park this morning, to treat nests spotted on the west bank of the river. We oiled 22 more eggs in four nests. Two nests were out on an island that didn't seem accessible looking at if from the east bank. Fortunately, the water was shallower on the west side, so we were able to wade out.

To date we have oiled 96 eggs in the Saddle Brook and Rochelle Park areas, with more to go.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

More Work Done, More to Do in Saddle Brook/Rochelle Park

Nest locations as of 4/15/09 in Saddle River County Park Pehle Area (Saddle Brook) and Rochelle Park Area

SADDLE BROOK and ROCHELLE PARK, NJ--Greg, Naomi and I woke up early this morning to treat new nests Greg located in the Saddle River County Park/Pehle area, and several others down in the Rochelle Park area. We treated 44 eggs in nine nests. One nest was out in the river on a pile of debris that has built up alongside a fallen tree. We had to climb out on the tree to access the nest. Greg sank through some loose debris and got a bootful of mucky water. Two other nests were out on islands, but luckily the water was shallow and we were able to wade out to oil the eggs. However, we saw four other nests on islands that are inaccessible without a boat; we may have to just let those go.

More work to be done here. Tomorrow, Greg and I will go back to Rochelle Park to treat several nests we saw on the opposite (west) side of the river. Also Greg has spotted a few new nests on the east side of the river across from the Pehle area, accessible via Cali Mack parking lot off Paramus Road.

To date we have treated 74 eggs in 16 nests in the Pehle and Rochelle Park areas of Saddle River County Park. I'm sure we'll oil well over 100 by the time we're done.

Publicity Paying Off

I have received two phone calls as a result of last Sunday's Bergen Record article. One was from a woman who wanted to get involved with GeesePeace, and she has signed up for training being offered tomorrow night in Westwood.

Another was from a resident who lives on Emerald Court in Paramus, a cul-de-sac off Paramus Road across the Saddle River from the Ridgewood Duck Pond. There's a small pond at the end of the cul-de-sac that we've known about since last year. Geese are nesting on a small island in the middle of the pond, which is very difficult to access due to high retaining walls and deep water. But the resident who called said he has waders, so I'll run over there this afternoon to check things out.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Intrepid Oilers

Monday, April 13:

Andy Lowry and Ellie Gruber treated a total of 48 eggs at two locations: The Northwest Bergen CountyUtilities Authority (NBCUA) in Waldwick, and the island between Upper Ridgewood Tennis Club and the NBCUA, which can only be accessed by a flat bottomed boat. This short trip is not for the faint at heart, by the way.

The NBCUA has been very helpful, they provide an employee to row us over to the island, where Andy hacks through the brambles with a clippers, and we crawl through the thick underbrush and muck to oil our eggs. There is hardly room to open an umbrella, but we do it!

There were 5 nests on the actual property, with more coming, from the looks of it. On the island, there were 7 more. But some of the nests only had 3 eggs, or 4, so we will return next Monday.

Ellie Gruber