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.

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