Egged on: Forest Lakes resident angered by addling

Two years ago, Forest Lakes North resident Carol Rasmussen was devastated when officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture rounded up and slaughtered 90 Canada geese from the five lakes in her neighborhood, citing airline safety and the neighborhood's proximity to the Charlottesville Albemarle Regional Airport.


This year, Rasmussen says, her thrill at the arrival of a single pair of geese nesting in the lake behind her house turned to horror when she spotted a department agent patrolling the lake who told her he intended to "addle" the eggs, a process by which the shells are covered with oil, killing the developing embryos.


"One pair of geese with their eggs cannot cause a hazard," says Rasmussen, who had already named the adult geese "Gracie" and "George" in anticipation of the arrival of their goslings. She describes herself as "furious" at the egg addling, an annual effort by the Forest Lakes Neighborhood Association and something the board president insists is necessary, even when the goose population is low.

"It's one of our proactive efforts in an attempt to prolong the need for future round-ups," says Board president David Shifflett, who says that despite the annual addling, the goose population will probably grow as some nests are missed.

Gracie and George were not the only nesting pair, Shifflett says, noting that this year, 19 eggs were addled. In past years, he says, as many as 70 eggs were addled, and still, the goose population grew to the 90 or so present at the 2010 killings.

As reported in a Hook cover story that year, the large size and migratory nature of Canada geese makes them a potential aviation menace, particularly at take-off. The memorable "Miracle on the Hudson" flight, which catapulted airline pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger to hero status in 2009, put an even sharper focus on Canada geese, which collided with both of that plane's engines immediately prior to the river landing.

However, any bad reputation is undeserved, according to nonprofit organization Geese Peace, which suggests less lethal control measures. (While the group's approved protocols do include egg addling, it advocates the measure only after the population has risen beyond a certain level.)

Rasmussen says she doesn't know if the wildlife official she encountered traipsing around the lake ever found the nest, and she says Gracie continues to sit on the eggs– a sign, she hopes, that the developing birds remain viable.

Neighborhood president Shifflett says he shares Rasmussen's love for wildlife and understands her desire to watch a goose family grow together.

"She was excited about seeing the eggs hatch and the family raise the goslings, and I respect that," says Shifflett. "But we have to do what's right for the community overall."

Rasmussen agrees that some population management is necessary.

"Controlling the geese is okay with me," she says. "It's just that, they don't all have to go, do they?"

She suggests that with the small number of geese currently present on the lakes, predators might naturally keep the numbers in check, and she notes that the wildlife official told her that turtles enjoy making meals of goslings.

"I don't even know if nature will let them survive," says Rasmussen. "There's a lot of turtles on the bank."

Update:As this issue was going to press, Carol Rasmussen contacted the Hook to say George and Gracie had left the lake, and that their nest and eggs are gone.–ed.

Read more on: Canada GeeseForest Lakes


Another goose story. Let it go. I also live in Forest Lakes and I can't stand all of the geese around. Running around the ponds there is feces all over the walk ways and when I am trying to fish around the ponds the geese are always hissing at you. They are geese, they are a nuisance, let it go. The baby geese, like most young animals are cute when they are small and annoying when full grown.

Goose Hunter..........I don't live there and know nothing about your HOA, but they are a hazzard in a number of areas and a nuisance to a lot of things- they deficate their own weight EVERY DAY! Sorry for shouting.............

They do it in the water and on the land- perhaps Ms. Rasmussen should carry a shovel and pick up after them as if they were her pets.

Mmmmm...grilled goose breast and cherry sauce.

Sully earned his due. But if you think not, ask yourself who you want in your jets pilot seat.

I disagree in the Sully event. There's some pilots who would think they are good enough to make it back to the airport. Sully was experienced enough to know this wasn't an option very quickly.

Let's see, over 7 billion humans at last count. Where does all that feces go? Lots of starving humans around the globe would love to sink their tooth into a baked goose. At the very least they should have been used for feeding the world's hungry. Foie Gras anyone?

Someone call Canada already and tell them COME GET YOUR DAMN GEESE!!!

Better yet keep the kids inside and I'll personally dispatch all the Geese with my .22LR Wal-Mart open-sight special.

And bring some cherry sauce.

I think we need a vigorous discussion about what is the best caliber (or guage/birdshot) with which to most efficiently and with sport dispatch the geese.

That's all human's want to do is destroy everything. How about letting a farm operation round up all the offending geese fatten them up and process them for pate'. Instead of this senseless slaughter something good could be done. But, no, just waste and destruction till there's nothing left.

Kill 'em all!

Eire- pate' from Canadien geese? And that is not senseless slaughter? That should make Ms. Rasmussen's day...............

These people are sick. I understand it is for plane safety BUT there has to be a better way than just rounding them up and killing them all. That is so sad, no matter how much they "poop" all around. It's horrible to just kill something and not have a use for it!!!

When will all the "goose embryo worshippers" realize that it's no one else's business what private neighborhood associations do with their own bodies of water.

The complaint mentioned in the article was about what a Department of Agriculture employee was doing.

It's not just the eggs that are addled........

Every morning there are about 30 geese on the fields behind Hollymead. The sidewalks around Lake Hollymead are a mess. They are nothing but a nuisance.

How would Mrs. Rasmussen feel if northern pike made their way into the pond and started feeding on the goslings as northern pike do? For that matter, snapping turtles live in that pond and they sometimes feed on goslings. Should we increase the numbers of turtles and introduce pike to control the goose population or eliminate them all b/c they subsist on cute goslings and ducklings?

I wish I lived in the same Disney-inspired world as Mrs. Rasmussen. Life would be so much easier if I could simply live in my own little bubble like her.

I do like the ideas of introducing some pike into the lakes. Or perhaps some musky or flathead catfish all of which should be able to take care of them little ducklings. I'm sure Ms. Rasmussen would rather see a 40 inch fish or 20 pound snapping turtle come up and suck one of them little feather balls under and just see a little puff of feathers and blood floating on the surface then to see the eggs addled. Nature, isn't it great!

I thought I remember seeing last year when they "slaughtered" the geese that the meat was donated to a food bank or something? I could be wrong.

I fly in and out of the Cville Airport on a regular basis. Since we are not near the Hudson River and Sully doesn't fly from here, I think we need to deal with the goose problem. I looked on the internet for any goose condoms or birth control pills and didn't find any. I am an animal lover and believe that we need to manage animals humanely. However, I think a human life is worth more then a goose life. So, let's let the experts deal with this problem and move on to more important issues.

"I wish I lived in the same Disney-inspired world as Mrs. Rasmussen. Life would be so much easier if I could simply live in my own little bubble like her."

Well, then you could move to Forest Lakes and enjoy the goose-poop-free wonders of modern suburbia...

At least Ms. Rasmussen has compassion and the capacity to love. You all sound as if you're all feathers and no fluff.

I agree with Suzi, all of you are so harsh on Ms. Rasmussen. Even if it is a necessity that the geese be removed (killed) it is still not a hooray we killed them moment. I sure hope that the meat was donated. I don't believe in killing of any animal unless it is going to be used. Would total relocation of these birds not work? I cannot believe that more people don't at least have some sort of symphony for the lady...people are mean. There is no need to make her feel bad just for her feelings toward what they did to the birds...

They are just trolling April. Whining about stepping in a little poop and taking on the dangerous task of goose hunting is todays version of a macho man. I am surprised they didn't mention beer somewhere in their posts.

I'd like to mention beer. No other trappings of modern macho life are coming to mind, which shouldn't surprise anybody. Being macho takes a lot of concentration and most of us are too busy being macho to pay attention to non-macho stuff like words. Well, beer is the exception.

@ Discoduck: Love it!!

I can hear Diana Ross singing: "...I hear a sympathy..."
Truly, April, I'd love to have some "symphony" for old Rassie Rasmussen (I decided to nickname her in the spirit of that great American hero, Sully Sullenberger), but my gong has not been tuned properly.
We could relocate the birds, but since Charlottesville keeps coming up #1 at the hippest city for birds in the issues of "Swoop and Poop," the definitive periodical aimed at the 1-4 year old Canadian goose demographic, they seem to want to stay here and resist relocation. Perhaps we could build a gigantic aviary next to the new Preston Avenue apartment building and house them there. That would solve the homeless goose problem.

R.I.P.: Ronnie Montrose

Meanwhile at Planned Parenthood, 2 human babies were "addled"...

@ Mark YES even a more a concern and heartache.

Concerning the hazzard of poop where we walk, how about controlling the number of dogs that are around the city, with owners that don't clean up, or let them run free? Not to mention their obnoxious barking at all hours.

@Suzi Frazee, who I suspect is the original M(r)s. Rasmussen, it is quite true, she does have the compassion and capacity to love. And it is very sad to see animal population control in such an up front and personal matter. But, do note High Flyer's comment (and Mrs. Rasmussen herself noted that the goose population needs to be controlled somehow. How, then? Egg addling is a lot less traumatic than outright goose slaughter).

I believe her heart is in the right place, but I can't see any other practical solution.

As a side note, knowing that Canadian Geese are a nuisance and commonly eat a lot of nasty things, is it even possible that the meat can be donated, etc?

You know it is said that you can tell a country & their people by the way they treat their elderly & their animals. Killing all the geese and eggs says alot about the people who endorse this type of behavior. I am sure that if you were born in the 1800's that you would have been the ones slaughtering millions of bison for their furs and not for food& wiping them off the prairie. You know they were a nuisance. Gluttony, & ignorance prompted your actions. There were alternatives. This was definitely OVERKILL!

No Kay it was underkill.

There are still way to many Geese.

Really, we just need to round up all the Geese, clip their wings, and deport them back to Canada.

As another Forest Lakes resident who loves the local wildlife and doesn't have a hissy fit over having to step over the occasional bird poop, I also wish the powers that be could just leave the geese alone! They are a pleasure to have around. Have some compassion, people. Are we so selfish as to think this world is for humans only & we just can't share with any other creatures?

So many Canada Geese no longer migrate because of human changes to the landscape. We put all these ponds and nicely manicured lawns and golf courses in our subdivisions , and of course the geese are attracted ? What can you expect?
I see both sides . Canada Geese are lovely birds, just like Whitetailed Deer are lovely animals, but sometimes you can have too much of a good thing. I favor neither total extermination of urban goose populations, nor the view that some population control is not needed. First try nonlethal means-like habitats that don't attract geese so readily.
As a means of population control, addling eggs is fine, its really just birth control. And as a last resort, certainly humane cropping is in order.
Canada Geese are great game birds, but there would be little sport in going after these half-tame birds with a shotgun.
On the other hand, I think the city should permit bowhunting of deer . I have never heard of a bowhunter shooting anyone mistaking them for game. Just as long as the venison(yumm!) is not allowed to waste.
People complain about goose poop, couldnt be any worse than all the dog poop you have to watch out for when you go down the sidewalks here in the city!

I have been quietly helping the city control deer. From the trail along the Rivanna, when I see deer I pop em a few times with my suppressed .22 caliber. They don't die or drop right away and noboby hears, but eventually they bleed out and no longer nuisance.

Karma. Someday soon other species may decide to "control" the number of humans...

By the way, not to sound radical, just sharing a definition - the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of a group" is defined as.... genocide.