Canadian geese mill about at Edward Milne Community School field. (Bruce Hogarth)

Vancouver Island schools have a goose poop problem

Officials struggling to react as birds leave excrement everywhere on fields

A walk through Edward Milne Community School sports field, and you’ll quickly feel the squishy feel of bird dropping on the bottom of your shoes. It’s a scene repeated daily in almost every schoolyard in the region.

The Sooke School District, along with municipalities, have a goose poop problem.

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“It turns out that the poop has been an issue for a long time,” said Stephanie Sherlock, communications manager for Sooke School District.

“We have tried several different approaches to encourage the birds’ movement away from the field with little success.”

In the past, animal cutouts were placed in the field to scare the birds away but that didn’t work. More recently, lights were set up at each corner of the field designed to bother the geese, but that didn’t show any signs of resolving the issue as the geese population numbers didn’t change over a three-month period.

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On average, adult geese excrete upwards of 900 grams per 24-hour period.

According to the Canadian Wildlife Service, the southern part of B.C. has an estimated 37,800 Canada geese. The geese in local parks are resident populations and not migratory geese that pass through the region every spring and fall.

In the 1960s and 1970s resident Canada geese were introduced to many areas of the south coast for hunting and to give people more opportunities to see them.

The school district doesn’t have the resources to keep up with wild animals and birds that frequent its fields and land surrounding schools, but would move to clean up the poopy mess if it posed a significant health threat to students.

“We are actively looking into a new solution, but so far we have not decided on the next step,” Sherlock said.



editor@sookenewsmirror.com

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