Geese eggs still being pricked in Sandwell but number falls

Council workers have continued to tamper with goose eggs at parks and beauty spots in Sandwell - but the total has dropped dramatically following a storm over the practice.

Geese at Forge Mill Lake
Geese at Forge Mill Lake

A total of 27 eggs have been pricked this year across the borough as part of measures to control numbers of the birds.

It represents a massive drop from 2016, when 189 were pricked and another 80 oiled.

No eggs have been oiled this year, according to council figures.

Sandwell Council came under fire for culling Canada geese in an effort to reduce numbers.

Bosses agreed to end the cull following a huge backlash from animal welfare campaigners but did not rule out pricking eggs to control the bird population.

During 2017, eight eggs were pricked at Forge Mill Lake at Sandwell Valley, six at Priory Woods local nature reserve - down from 86 last year - five at Sheepwash nature reserve in Tipton, five at Swan Pool, also at Sandwell Valley, and three at Dartmouth Park in West Bromwich.

The authority became embroiled in a storm when it emerged 220 geese from Tipton’s Victoria Park and Dartmouth Park were killed over a two-year period.

Pricking eggs involves using a pin or needle to make a hole in the shell of the egg, while oiling eggs sees them coated with liquid paraffin. Both measures prevent the development of the bird embryo.

Council chiefs were presented with a dilemma about how to keep the goose population under control in its parks, wary of avoiding the type of backlash its has faced in the past.

Council leader Steve Eling said the authority was in a position where it couldn’t win over geese.

He said: “We can’t win because some people love them and some people hate them.

“People who love them think nothing should be done to control the population.

“It is about the size of the population rather than having none at all. We actually get more complaints about geese than complaints that nothing should be done about them.”

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