The more obvious signs that geese live at D.W. Field Park — fecal droppings — are being noticed as the snow melts and the region readies for spring.
The war against Canada geese has gotten lethal. To counter heavy bird droppings on public property and other goose-related dilemmas, Brockton and Raynham have begun killing the birds.
In Brockton late last year, federal workers euthanized 46 Canada geese at D.W. Field Park, which has one of the largest breeding populations in the state, a federal spokeswoman said.
The geese were caught and killed with carbon dioxide.
The measure was the last resort to solve a problem that has plagued Brockton for years, one official said last week.
“Go up on the golf course. You have to play hopscotch without stepping in the dung,” said John Dorgan, the city’s superintendent of parks and recreation. “I’m telling you, it’s brutal.”
Raynham has euthanized small numbers of geese in recent years, said town Health Agent Alan Perry, who did not have an exact number of geese that have been killed.
Since 2005, Raynham has contracted with federal Wildlife Services to control the goose population in town, Perry said. Last year, the town spent $1,500 for a six-month contract.
“Fines were the first step. We wanted to show that we were taking the least harmful route toward the geese,” Perry said. “But eventually over time, that wasn’t enough because the population was so large.”
This year, Raynham is contracting again for the same service, but the focus will be on a “nest and egg treatment” that involves coating the goose eggs with corn oil to control geese, Perry said.
The process is used instead of removing the eggs, which causes geese to simply lay more. After coating the egg with corn oil, which blocks the flow of oxygen, the egg does not develop but the goose continues to sit on it. After several seasons of coating the eggs, the geese may move on after associating the area with poor breeding.
Euthanization is a last resort, Perry said.
Both Raynham and Brockton had to obtain a federal permit to kill the geese.
Brockton has no plans to euthanize geese this year because that method was too costly last year, Dorgan said.
Workers from the wildlife division of the federal Department of Agriculture handled the job for approximately $5,000, paid for by the D.W. Field Park Association and the D.W. Field Trust Fund, said Dorgan, adding that no city funds were used in the process.
Instead, starting in April, the city will use the “nest and egg treatment” which proved to be helpful last year, Dorgan said.
“We saw a smaller amount of youngsters there that survived the vegetable oil,” Dorgan said.
The birds are supposed to migrate, but stay in the park because people feed them, he said.
One Canada goose deposits a minimum of one-half pound of feces every day, said Carol Bannerman, a spokeswoman for the wildlife services division of the federal Department of Agriculture.
With about 500 geese in D.W. Park, that could translate into 250 pounds of fecal droppings at the park every day, she said.
“In overabundant flocks, the birds can pose property damage and safety risks,” Bannerman said.
Fake coyotes have gone up throughout D.W. Field Park in Brockton, and a shepherd dog has been deployed, but the geese always come back.
The geese have dropped feces on the grounds of two schools nearby — the Raymond Elementary and North Junior High schools.
Maria Papadopoulos can be reached at email@example.com.