Cupertino Receives Help from US Fish and Wildlife in Geese Battle

Cupertino has a new tactic in battling its longtime geese problem at many of the city's parks.

The city, which is trying to keep open space clean, has received a permit from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service for what is called egg degradation.

"When the eggs are at a certain stage, we can addle them which means you coat them with a vegetable oil, which causes the eggs not to progress," said Roger Lee, Cupertino's assistant director of public works. "The geese continue to sit on them, but you just don't have any new goslings that will continue to come back here every year if we don't do something."

The city has been having a turf war with geese, considered a nuisance, for the last two years.

Crews have tried different methods to get them to move along, including turning on sprinklers and letting the grass grow to minimize their food source.

"Every day through the week we are having to sweep off the walkways because it is just so littered with things from the geese," Lee said.

Lee added that the city in May 2013 launched a program of hazing the geese with trained dogs, which has been fairly effective.

The permit for egg degradation comes during nesting season.

City officials said their methods for managing the geese seems to be working, but they also need help from the public.

"Don't feed the geese. It's not healthy for the geese to feed them bread and other things like that," Lee said. "It causes problems with their skeletal system and it encourages them to come back here instead of foraging for food naturally."

Park visitors said they understand why the city doesn't want the geese around, but some don't mind sharing the public space.

"The geese have a right to be here as well," John Leong said. "So it's just that we should get along with each other. What they do is natural What we do is natural as well."

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