Council takes a swing at Shoreline bird nuisance

The city has upped the ante in its bird battle at Shoreline Park with Tuesday's City Council decision to fill the course's freshwater ponds with dirt.

The City Council unanimously decided to fill four freshwater ponds that several thousand Canada geese and American coots flock to. It will take 115,000 cubic yards of soil.

Nearly every method possible has been used to get rid of the birds, which chew up the course and leave feces everywhere. The birds have been chased away by dogs, remote control boats, fake alligator heads -- even shotguns were used in the 1980s to kill hundreds of them. In 2008, draining the ponds made a big impact, a 58 percent reduction in coots and a 25 percent reduction in geese.

The move comes as the city-run golf course begins to become a drain on the city budget. The hope is that cutting down on the bird problem will increase business.

The filled ponds will be landscaped to attract mice and insects to provide new hunting grounds for the area's rare burrowing owls. About a dozen of the ground-dwelling owls still exist in the area. Rocks, pieces of wood, plants and grass were chosen to provide the owls a place to hunt and provide golf hazards for players.

The city is using the filled ponds to offset loss of 6 acres of owl habitat south of the golf course where new baseball and soccer fields are planned.

A section of one of the four ponds will remain in front of the Michaels at Shoreline restaurant.

The project will use $330,000 in Shoreline tax district bond revenue and $20,000 paid by Google for impacting burrowing owls with an outdoor recreation facility on the north side of Amphitheater Parkway.


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Posted by k
a resident of Shoreline West
on Jun 9, 2011 at 11:59 am

Goose riddance!

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Posted by Mr. DePortum
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jun 10, 2011 at 6:42 pm

Send them back to Canada Eh!!

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Posted by vkmo
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Jun 13, 2011 at 2:18 pm

I love the birds. It's nice to see them flourishing at Shoreline Park. When I visit with my kids and grand-daughter I enjoy pointing them out to them. Now that the city has received substantial payment from Google for land and structures, it should be able to afford to occasionally clean the golf course and the park. I have not seen much damage to the course and have never been bothered by the bird feces. Be kind (not cruel) to them, they are a delight to adults and kids alike.

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Posted by pun'd it
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jun 13, 2011 at 2:39 pm

We could kill 2 birds with one pun intended...Instead of giving money to the 'will work for food' crowd, let them catch geese for dinner.

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Posted by Susan H
a resident of Castro City
on Jun 13, 2011 at 2:48 pm

Geese recruit their own to their "favorite" spot. Shoreline would be mine if I were a goose. Canada geese will eventually "forget" the location if less water is available. Goose poop is really nasty. Granted they are beauiful to look at but the reality of them leaving their tokens all over the golf course is not as lovely. Good call by the city to fill in the ponds.

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Posted by Nancy
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 13, 2011 at 5:01 pm

The City can be real conservationists by auctioning hunting permits and allowing hunters to use the golf course during early morning hours to rid the course of geese and thin out the over population. Essentially the City can increase the revenue it derives from golf and add an additional revenue stream from hunting and be good environmental stewards in the process.

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Posted by trevor
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 13, 2011 at 5:18 pm

If you want to see birds, go to the zoo

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Posted by Heartfulart
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Jun 13, 2011 at 7:49 pm

I was just there yesterday, and I was shocked to see how filthy the area around the main lake (pond?) was! I've been there walking several times a week for the last few months, but hadn't been there for a few weeks and it was overwhelming- there were piles of bird poop everywhere! I'm sad they'll be filling in some of the ponds - it is such a lovely place, but if it helps get those birds out of there it might be worth it!
Hmm....I wonder what Alfred Hitchcock might say about all those birds gathering there... ;-)

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Posted by Rodger
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Jun 13, 2011 at 11:10 pm

I am a lot more interested in seeing birds than golfers, it would seem to be OK to fill in the ponds located inside the golf course but NOT the one in front of Michaels at Shoreline restaurant. I don't want to see any of this pond filled. It's one of the great pleasures of living in Mountain View to have lunch at Michaels and sit outside while looking at the water and the birds and water fowl. I was not aware that a meeting was being held on filling in a this pond, I would have spoken at the meeting against filling the pond even partly.

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Posted by BirdieLinda
a resident of another community
on Jun 14, 2011 at 11:03 pm

The birds don't bother's pleasant to see them going in and out of the water. Bird poop aside, can't we find a humane roll for the geese to play?

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Posted by Keep the geese
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 15, 2011 at 4:50 pm

I say lets keep the geese and get rid of the golfers. Make a beautiful park similar to Central Park in NYC. And of course since MV needs to have charges for everything nowadays, why not charge for people to visit and unlike Palo Alto Foothill park, open it to all people. Plant more trees, fruit trees, roses, and erect some statues, picnic tables, widen the ponds. We need to live as one with nature and all its lovely creatures, not destroy it and their habitat. Empathy and harmony people, what if you come back as a geese in the after life, how would you feel?

Like this comment
Posted by Mr Advice
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Jun 17, 2011 at 8:20 pm


Like this comment
Posted by Don Lindsay
a resident of Monta Loma
on Jun 21, 2011 at 2:13 pm

I golf at Shoreline, and I *like* the ponds and the birds. I would be more inclined to golf elsewhere if the ponds and birds were gone.

Instead of wasting huge amounts of our money, maybe the town council could just hire some minimum-wage people to do cleanups. It would cost less. It would provide jobs. And, the prissy people would be mollified. I have no idea why they think that the outdoors is supposed to look like a carpet.

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