Problem Birds: Geese
 
 
By definition, Canada geese are not classified as pest birds and are afforded protection by Government agencies. Nonetheless, Canada Geese are increasingly becoming the scourge of suburbia as their numbers have grown in the past decade from only a few thousand to

hundreds of thousands. In fact, the familiar V shaped squadron of honking geese heading south is becoming a rare sight. Country Clubs and business parks offer pristinely manicured lawns and ponds providing an ideal habitat and effectively modify their migration cycle. Geese are very opportunistic and easily exploit the new 'easy living' conditions found in an urban environment.


There are at least 10 or 11 subspecies of Canada geese, all similar in color pattern with long black neck and head with large white cheek patches meeting under the throat. The birds’ brown-gray body has a pale to dark breast and underparts while the black tail has white upper and undertail coverts. The bill and feet are also black. The bird varies in size from 22 to 48 inches long and weighing in from 3-4 lbs. all the way up to 24 pounds.

 

Health Hazards associated with Geese (Details) »
The general public's affection toward birds translates into a serious underestimation of the health risks associated with pest birds...

Physical damage caused by Goose Droppings and Nesting Materials (Details) »
Pest birds cause tens of millions of dollars of damage every year to buildings, machinery, automobiles, roofs, ventilation systems and more...

Goose Damage
Geese can cause damage to agricultural crops year round, either by trampling or consumption. Aesthetic damage to suburban lawns, golf courses, etc., is incalculable. Geese are also a health hazard - fouling reservoirs and ponds. A larger threat is air safety. Geese are one of the main birds involved in airline bird strikes worldwide.

Geese Breeding Cycles
Non-migratory or residential geese, once established, prefer feeding at the nesting site, but will often fly long distances to and from favorite feeding grounds. Some feeding may occur during moonlit nights.

Geese Breeding
Female geese usually lay one egg every other day during the 25 day spring mating season. The nest is abandoned a few days after hatching. Canada geese are monogamous for life, but will re-mate upon the death of their mate.

Goose Nesting
Nesting sites are typically near water with protective vegetation in close proximity. Planter boxes on high rise office buildings and balconies are quickly becoming a nesting site of choice. Geese are extremely aggressive, posting sentinels at nesting and grazing sites. Defense of nests can many times result in serious injury to people or pets who venture too close.

Goose Control Methods (Detailed Control Solutions) »
Geese are generally very difficult to remove. Before established, immediate corrective landscaping and behavioral modification is imperative: Remove cover shrubbery, eliminate aquatic vegetation and reduce fertilizer, especially around pond area, to make grass less nutritionally attractive. Control can include: dogs, pond wiring, birds of prey falconry, pyrotechnics, nest removal and bird relocation. During molting season Hawkeye has a special permit to capture and relocate geese. Physical barriers such as 4" mesh net can be extremely effective barriers but are site specific. These grids can be installed above water surface to prevent landing. Fencing made of Gridwire (.96mm) provides a discrete barrier to dissuade geese from entering property (especially from water areas) and can be electrified for increased effectiveness. Wire fencing applications should begin approximately 1’ off the ground with successive strands approximately 1 1/2’ above the last to a height of at least 3 -5 feet. Remember Geese are protected birds.

Fact vs. Fiction
We often hear statements such as: "Windmills work. To the geese, the ultraviolet light reflecting paint on the windmill blades looks like flapping of wings of other geese taking off in fright." - It's hard telling what blades may look like to geese; fact is, windmills do NOT scare geese away and have not been proven to be an effective control method.

 
 
 

 

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