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Volunteers find fewer goose nests around Cascade Lake

Addling effort continues with a reduced number of eggs found on park property.

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Tom Keefe demonstrates the goose egg sinking in a bucket of water signifying it's age Wednesday morning, April 14, 2021, at Silver Lake as they start a process of oiling Canada Goose eggs to reduce the goose population. The volunteers were in Cascade Lake Park on Friday. (Ken Klotzbach / kklotzbach@postbulletin.com)

A dozen goose nests were found Friday on parkland around Cascade Lake.

“It kind of surprised me there weren’t more around the lake,” said Paul Widman, Rochester’s parks and recreation director.

By comparison, 65 nests were found Wednesday in Silver Lake Park.

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The search for nests was the second outing for a group of volunteers seeking to help manage the goose population by limiting the number of eggs that hatch.
The Zumbro Valley Audubon Society’s annual Christmas Bird Count found 5,405 geese in Rochester last year, up from 4,244 the year before, but down from an eight-year high of 9,884 in 2017.

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Egg addling involves any process that prevents the eggs from developing. Volunteers are using an oiling process.

After using a float test to ensure eggs haven’t reached the 14th day of incubation, volunteers dip them into corn oil and return them to their nests. They will return in three weeks to remove the eggs after the nesting season passes.

In Silver Lake Park, eggs in nine nests where geese appeared to still be laying eggs were left untreated.

“We just decided that would be a good way to respond to the request to ensure there are still goslings,” Widman said.

In Cascade Lake Park, all the eggs found were treated, but Widman said volunteers spotted at least four nests on surrounding private property that will likely produce goslings.

It’s against federal law to handle the eggs without a required permit. The city has a permit, which allows addling on park property.

While the method used is supported by the Humane Society of the United States and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, approximately 25 residents turned out Wednesday to protest the activity.

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Widman said none were seen Friday.

In addition to the volunteer effort, the Parks and Recreation Department has contracted with Chatfield-based Canada Goose Management Inc. to search for nests and addle eggs in Foster Arend and Soldiers Field parks.

Randy Petersen joined the Post Bulletin in 2014 and became the local government reporter in 2017. An Elkton native, he's worked for a variety of Midwest papers as reporter, photographer and editor since graduating from Winona State University in 1996. Readers can reach Randy at 507-285-7709 or rpetersen@postbulletin.com.
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