Canada geese are invading people’s gardens and leaving droppings on pavements near a nature reserve in Earley, a residents’ association has claimed.

Maiden Erlegh Residents’ Association even asked a council if it would consider ‘destroying’ geese eggs. But Earley Town Council’s senior park ranger said most residents ‘delight in the birds’. Now the council is set to decide on how to manage the geese.

The residents' association says it received a ‘higher number of complaints’ about Canada geese near the Maiden Erlegh Nature Reserve last year. It said this is because there had been a ‘substantial increase in the number of goslings that had hatched.’

Its chairman Colin Mair wrote to Earley Town Council – which manages the reserve – in July last year saying the wild geese had been ‘touring’ nearby streets. The town council says he asked if it would consider ‘destroying’ some of the eggs ‘to limit the number of hatchlings'.

But the council says it had previously decided that ‘dipping’ or ‘oiling’ the eggs was unacceptable on a nature reserve. This process involves coating eggs in liquid paraffin to block oxygen and stop the embryo from developing.

The technique is only allowed under licence from the government. But Earley Town Council has decided not to apply for permission, adding that neighbours can put up temporary fences to protect their gardens instead.

Council documents say the senior park ranger feels ‘most of the residents seem to delight in the birds'. He said: “The only solution I can think of is for those residents that are concerned, that they erect some temporary fencing around their lawn during breeding season.”

Minutes from Maiden Erlegh Residents’ Association meetings confirm that its chairman wrote to the town council, and that the council ‘was not prepared to take any action such as oiling the eggs'.

But the chairman also said ‘the matter could not be left there'. Minutes from August last year say: “Residents were now tending to regard the proliferation of the geese as a problem, due to the amount of mess they left behind, which was a health risk.”

The residents’ association is now asking Earley Town Council to increase regular street cleaning in the summer months.

Earley Town Council says it has not received any complaints about Canada geese. Council town clerk Jo Field said: “Many people enjoy seeing the geese especially when they are raising their families, and feel the presence of such creatures enriches their lives.”

The council also claims that the residents’ association has not said how many complaints it has received.

But the council has agreed to come up with a policy on the geese so that nature reserve officers can give any complaints a ‘timely response’.

Town councillors were set to discuss options at a meeting on Wednesday, March 6, before making a final decision on March 27.