Geese Peace - Managing Wildlife in Stratford-upon-Avon
This project, delivered in by the town centre partnership, aimed to alleviate a growing nuisance caused by Stratford-upon-Avon’s population of Canada Geese. Many of the birds were visiting for the summer, creating territory conflict with the local swan population, harming the Stratford in Bloom programme by damaging plants and grass, and becoming aggressive towards visitors.
Working with the US-based organisation GeesePeace, who provided expert advice and start-up funding, a humane management plan was devised. Locally trained volunteers limited the birds’ numbers by using paraffin oil to prevent eggs from hatching and herding with sheep dogs prior to the moulting season to effectively establish an ‘exclusion zone’ by encouraging summer migration to another habitat. A publicity campaign was launched to discourage the feeding of visiting birds and implement responsible feeding practices for those that remained. An annual oiling program will continue until a stable and manageable population of Canada Geese has been achieved, after which selective breeding will be permitted to ensure that the remaining birds have a suitable age distribution.
The programme is proving so effective that one of the partner agencies, Warwickshire College, intends to introduce GeesePeace methods into its curriculum as a best practice example of responsible and humane wildlife management. Ongoing costs are to be met largely by the use of volunteer workers and other contributions in-kind from supporters such as the college, council, Royal Shakespeare Company, local landowners and leisure boat operators.