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West Fargo residents dealing with abundance of geese

A group of concerned area residents brought forth the problem to the West Fargo City Commission in hopes of government action

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Geese walk along the bank of a retention pond Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022, near 17th Avenue and 6th Street East, West Fargo.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum
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WEST FARGO — Geese have been taking over a neighborhood in West Fargo, forcing many residents to deal with the territorial birds.

The properties significantly affected by the geese are located near man-made ponds in the city's northern side, near Charleswood Park at 15th Avenue East and Sixth Street East.

A group of concerned area residents brought forth the problem to the West Fargo City Commission in hopes of government action.

Donna Hentges, a resident of the neighborhood, said that the influx of geese started occurring around 2015 and has grown since then.

"They return every year," Hentges said. "Every year there's more geese that come back."

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Hentges isn't the only person experiencing problems with the geese.

One family in the area has a basketball court that has been covered in droppings. The court has to be washed off every time the family wants to play on it.

A primary reason for the uptick in geese is public feeding. The various homeowners associations have since asked its tenants to not feed the wild geese.

Hentges recalled a group of people that were regularly feeding the birds in 2019 had been approached by a resident, who asked the group to stop. The group ignored the request and continued.

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Geese walk along the bank of a retention pond Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022, near 18th Avenue and 7th Street East, West Fargo.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum

Fast-forward to 2022 and the issue is still troubling the neighborhood, with one idea circulating to fine people for feeding the birds.

"We request that a significant fine of at least $500 be attached as a penalty," said Kela Howell, a resident of the area.

The residents also asked the commissioners to administer a city ordinance with an agency enforcing the fines.

Assistant City Administrator Dustin Scott said the accumulation of geese isn’t new in the city.

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“We have over the years experienced problems, especially with the geese,” Scott said. “I know the park district has tried a couple of proactive measures to try to deter geese, but those were temporary solutions.”

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Geese walking by house in the Northridge Townhomes
Courtesy of Donna Hentges

The commission agreed that the issue should be dealt with, and Commission President Bernie Dardis has created a committee consisting of city officials to help find solutions to the problem.

The lingering question remaining is, what can residents do about the geese that are currently occupying the area?

Michael Szymanski, the migratory game bird management supervisor for the North Dakota Game and Fish, said one simple fix to improve the situation is to stop feeding the birds.

"If people are feeding the geese, that's a big problem," Szymanski said. "Those are measures that people can take among themselves to stop doing."

Feeding the birds can create "bad habits." In one instance a goose knocked over a little kid for his sandwich, Szymanski said, adding the nearby water features create a situation that is impossible to avoid.

"There's always going to be Canada geese," Szymanski said. "If you take those (Canada geese) away, there will be more Canada geese that show up probably the very next spring or later that summer or fall."

With the proper permitting, eggs can be submerged in corn oil, which permeates through the egg's shell and suffocates the embryo, preventing the eggs from hatching,

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The technique is used throughout the country, Szymanski said.

"This is certainly not a novelty problem in West Fargo and Fargo," Szymanski said. "We are ready to help the community out if need be."

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