A traffic circle in a New Brunswick city was recently deemed dangerous after it became a nesting ground for Canada geese. Dozens of eggs had to be removed from the circle in Dieppe, New Brunswick, after collisions between birds and vehicles became an issue.
While traffic circles aren’t generally ideal habitats for birds, the ecological makeup of the circle in question has made it an appealing spot for the geese. It’s part of a protected wetland and contains long grasses and a small body of water. Pam Novak of the Atlantic Wildlife Institute described it as an “oasis” for the geese. “You have that nice calm water pond,” Novak told the CBC. “It’s attractive for them to want to have their young because it’s a good spot for the young to go into where they don’t have to deal with the currents and the deep sloping sides of the muddy [Petitcodiac River].”
Unfortunately, with the steady flow of cars right around the nesting area, this oasis is less of a safe space than it seems. There have been at least four collisions with the birds in just the last month.
79 eggs were removed from the nests in the traffic circle to discourage geese from returning or from being born in the area, as geese often return to the place where they were born, and may even start their own nests there.
However, some don’t think removing the eggs does enough to discourage the geese from living and laying in the traffic circle. Local birder Alain Clavette says the geese are just too comfortable there. “The main source of food for a Canada Goose and their goslings is grass. So, if you have grass, you have water, they know that they will be protected.”
Clavette believes that even if the eggs are removed, the birds will return to lay more. The only way to drive the geese away, he says, is to smash the eggs and remove the grass, to show the birds that this is not a safe place for their nests.
“We don’t like to destroy the eggs,” he told the CBC, “but with destroying the eggs…the geese will come back and say, ‘Okay, there’s a predator here that comes and destroys my eggs. I’m not going to nest here.'”
Novak hopes that removing all the eggs that are laid and letting plants grow over the grass will be enough to deter the geese.
The eggs that were removed will be brought to the New Brunswick Museum in Saint John.