Geese overrun Alexandria park

There's a problem taking flight in Alexandria. Geese are over-running a popular park in Cameron Station.

Residents say they can count nearly 100 in just one visit.

The protected species can't be hunted, so the city is taking creative measures to keep the problem at bay.

"Sometimes I feel like I'm coming into their territory," said Alexandria resident Cynthia Walker.

David Godbold of Alexandria resident added, "It's a big hygiene problem, aside from my feet getting covered in doo-doo."

The geese are flocking to Ben Brenman Park by the dozens.

Bob Taylor with the Alexandria Recreation, Parks & Cultural Activities Department said, "Sometimes there may be as many as 70 or 80 here."

Part of Taylor's job is to brainstorm ways for the birds and their human neighbors to co-exist.

"We do employ a contractor who comes out most every day. They use dogs. This is an approved method, and they have the appropriate permits...," Taylor explained.

Unfortunately, that's taking a bit of a bite out of the city's budget.

Taylor added, "Our staff, if they're having to devote time to repeatedly having to clean up walkways and the paved areas, then it means they're not doing something else so we do incur a cost. "

Taylor said the public can help shoo off the big birds by keeping a distance and not feeding the geese. Handing out food encourages them to waddle closer.

"We actually want them to be a little afraid of people," Taylor explained.

Jennifer Todd and her family say in their five years of living in Cameron Station they've learned the geese are there to stay.

"They're part of my daily routine. I would miss them if they weren't here, but I would love them more if they were in the water," Todd said.

The city does send some of its staff to get trained in all things geese. They're always searching for new ways to discourage the birds.

Another way the geese population can be controlled is by destroying their eggs. During nesting season a permit can be obtain that allows for the destruction of goose eggs, but the adult birds cannot be touched. Again, a permit is necessary for this method.