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.
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
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.
Rejex-it®, made from methyl anthranilate, a
non-toxic, biodegradable food ingredient, makes
grass unpalatable to Canada geese.
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
mylar tape and other humane nuisance wildlife management
products are available through Wally's Workbench
at the shelter or online.
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.
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.
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.
and reprinted with permission of the Animal Protection