Plan Ahead To Prevent Canada Goose Conflicts

Social Circle, Ga.

The Canada goose adapts easily to different environments, from open farmland and rural reservoirs to suburban neighborhood ponds, office complexes, parks and other developed areas. This ability to adapt sometimes puts them in close quarters with people, which could lead to an increase in geese interactions, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division (GADNR WRD).

“I think most people have a story about a negative goose encounter. Canada geese that are around humans daily or are being fed can lose their fear of humans,” says Kara Nitschke, wildlife biologist and the state waterfowl biologist with the GADNR WRD Game Management Section.  “But don’t let that lack of fear fool you into thinking they are harmless. Geese will defend their nest sites against perceived threats, and when they nest near developed areas like office complexes or apartment buildings, that may include chasing or charging at people. Planning can help avoid these situations.”

The nesting season for geese is just getting underway, and landowners and land managers with geese issues (homeowners, golf course managers, city/county managers, etc.) - especially during the summer molting season - may be able to act now and reduce their nuisance problems later this year.  

It is important to remember that Canada geese are a protected species under state and federal law. It is illegal to hunt, kill, sell, purchase or possess Canada geese except according to Georgia's migratory bird regulations or other federal permits. However, there are a variety of prevention methods for handling situations before they become an issue:

  • Harassment: Landowners who don’t want geese on their property should first try a variety of harassment techniques, including chemical repellents, metallic flagging, wire/string barriers, and noise makers.  These methods are proven to help reduce goose problems.  Now is the best time to act because geese are just beginning to select their nesting sites.  Scaring the geese away now will reduce problems later in the summer. However, these methods do require consistency from the property owner and are not always 100% effective.  
  • Reduce Goose Reproduction: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued regulations that allow for additional control measures, apart from harassment techniques and traditional hunting, to help address human-goose conflicts.  One of those regulations is a permit for reducing goose reproduction through nest and egg removal OR egg addling or oiling which prevent the eggs from hatching.  

“Permits provide a legal way to keep the number of adult geese on a property from growing too large through years of unchecked reproduction,” says Nitschke.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service permits are available at Their website also contains useful information on the methods for addling or oiling the eggs or removing the nests, and when each method may be appropriate.

For information on a variety of methods of dealing with Canada geese, visit , scroll to “Common Conflict Species” and click on “Canada Geese.”