To the editor:
Whidbey Audubon Society has been asked to weigh in on the Honeymoon Lake Canada goose issue.
Our chapter does not support either the lethal method of removing the geese or their capture and relocation. The former should be an option of last resort; Canada geese will continue to drop into the lake each year and use the habitat provided by the homeowners. Relocation is another temporary fix and should only be done with the permission of the proper authorities. A real possibility exists of an avian disease being spread from one flock to another at the relocation site.
The irony is that if a particular territorial pair of geese is eliminated, then multiple couples may move in. This results in more geese than before. Attempting to eliminate Canada geese in Western Washington is similar to trying to empty Honeymoon Lake with a teaspoon.
A much better solution for the lakeside property owners is simply to stop feeding the geese and to alter the lakeside habitats.
Shrubs and other tall plants along with other barriers can be attractive and effective ways to make the geese feel unsafe from terrestrial predators. Local biologist Russell Link devotes several pages to preventative goose measures in his book, “Living with Wildlife in the Pacific Northwest.” We encourage the homeowners at Honeymoon Lake to make use of the advice from this book and other resources. Whidbey Audubon members are willing to come help solve this problem if invited.
It needs to be emphasized that, along with most nuisance wildlife issues, this dilemma was created by humans. Canada geese were brought from Eastern Washington to our side of the state for hunting purposes. That, coupled with habitat alterations that include clearing forests away from lake edges, created the problem. Only humans have the intelligence and resources to resolve the problem by making the habitat less attractive to the geese.
Steve Ellis, president,
Whidbey Audubon Society