The Canada goose is an adaptable bird that can thrive everywhere from open farmland and rural reservoirs to suburban neighborhood ponds, office complexes, parks and other developed areas. This ability to adapt means they often end up near human populations which can sometimes lead to an increase in human-wildlife conflicts, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division.
“Geese that have adapted to people, either because they are being fed or because they are so close to humans on a daily basis, can become aggressive,” says Tina Johannsen, Assistant Chief for the Game Management Section of the Wildlife Resources Division. “When you have resident geese nesting near developed areas like office complexes or apartment buildings, the geese will defend their nest against all intruders, and that may include chasing or charging at people.”
The nesting season for geese is just getting underway, and landowners and land managers who have problems with geese (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.
First, 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 is a variety of 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, mylar balloons, wire/string barriers, and noise makers. These methods are proven to help reduce goose problems. However, they do require consistency from the property owner and are not always 100% effective. 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. For more, visit https://georgiawildlife.com/preventing-wildlife-conflicts.”
- 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 nuisance goose problems. One of those regulations is a permit for reducing goose reproduction through nest and egg destruction OR egg addling or oiling which prevent the eggs from hatching.
“A permit can be useful in certain situations—such as a homeowner that may have geese nesting close to home,” says Johannsen. “Additionally, it is a way to keep a minimum number of adult geese on the property without the population growing too large through years of unchecked reproduction.”
These permits are available at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s website (https://epermits.fws.gov/eRCGR/geSI.aspx). The website also contains useful information on the methods for addling or oiling the eggs or destroying the nests, and when each method may be appropriate.
For a brochure on a variety of methods of dealing with nuisance geese, visit https://georgiawildlife.com/preventing-wildlife-conflicts.