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Geese

Coping with Canada Geese

As the population of Canada Geese grows in our parks, neighborhoods and golf courses, complaints about the geese (and their droppings) are also on the rise. Since Canada geese prefer the lush green lawns and shallow ponds found in many of these areas, we need to take steps to make popular people places a lot less goose-friendly in order to minimize conflicts. 

As the population of Canada Geese grows in our parks, neighborhoods and golf courses, complaints about the geese (and their droppings) are also on the rise. Since Canada geese prefer the lush green lawns and shallow ponds found in many of these areas, we need to take steps to make popular people places a lot less goose-friendly in order to minimize conflicts. 

Fencing

Erecting barriers to restrict access to water and grazing areas can be a successful method of minimizing conflicts with Canada geese. Low fencing can deter feeding and loafing. A network of parallel lines or wires can be placed one to two feet above the water surface to restrict bird landing, swimming and takeoff. 

Fences can be constructed of a variety of materials including chicken wire, chain link, string, Mylar tape, and wooden pickets. Openings should be no larger than three inches and the height should be at least thirty inches. Fences are most effective if erected in early spring before nesting and in early summer when geese have young or are molting, making them flightless. 

Chemical Repellents

Rejex-it®, made from methyl anthranilate, a non-toxic, biodegradable food ingredient, makes grass unpalatable to Canada geese. 

Scare Devices

Visual deterrents (strobe lights, Mylar tape, "scare-eye" balloons, etc.) and sound deterrents (sirens, electronic whistles, etc.) can be used to chase geese away from an area. These devices are usually inexpensive and can often be implemented easily and quickly. 

Although birds can become accustomed to hazing techniques, their effectiveness can be increased if used in conjunction with other approaches, such as habitat modification.

Note: Goose repellent, mylar tape and other humane nuisance wildlife management products are available through Wally's Workbench at the shelter or online. 

Landscaping Changes

Altering habitat is considered the most effective long term approach to removing geese from an area. Geese prefer a large, unobstructed lawn in close proximity to open water. Ponds with islands are considered prime nesting real estate in the goose world. The objective of habitat modification is to make habitats less desirable to geese. 

Grassy areas - Young shoots, particularly finer-bladed species such as Kentucky bluegrass, are preferred fare for geese. Less palatable plants such as native grasses, ground cover and wildflowers should be substituted. If changing the type of lawn is not possible, watering should be reduced, the use of fertilizer minimized and the grass allowed to grow taller. 

Shorelines -Since geese prefer to rest or feed on grass near water, shorelines should be altered to reduce the bird's view and impede their access to the water. Shorelines can be modified with shrubs or boulders every ten to twenty yards. Banks should be made more steep, and walking paths should be placed close to shore to further discourage goose movement between the water and lawns. The installation of aquatic plants along the shore can also create a physical and visual barrier to geese. 

Ponds and Lakes - Islands and peninsulas, prime nesting sites for geese, should be eliminated if possible. Fountains and water aerators should be turned off in late fall to encourage an early freeze-up. This will discourage the geese from over-wintering. 

Reproduction Control

Egg addling is a humane technique used to limit the reproduction of Canada geese. Addling involves spraying the eggs with vegetable oil well before the embryos have completely developed. Addling requires permits from government wildlife agencies and should be employed only by those trained in its proper use. Addling should be used only after other methods have proven ineffective.

Be sure to get prior approval from the DNR before making modifications to any shoreline, even on private land. 

Please Do Not Feed the Geese

An important step toward reducing human-goose conflicts is to stop artificial feeding. Feeding encourages geese to remain in certain areas, thereby increasing their presence and the potential for problems.

More information about humanely co-existing with our wild neighbors can be obtained by browsing our other expert articles.

Modified and reprinted with permission of the Animal Protection Institute.