The Canada goose is an adaptable bird and can live in a variety of locations, including open farmland and rural reservoirs to suburban neighborhood ponds, office complexes, parks and other developed areas. According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division, as the goose population increases and they become more common in urban areas so does the increase in nuisance complaints.
“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 an aggressive pest,” says WRD State Waterfowl Biologist Greg Balkcom. “Additionally, when you have a resident goose population that continues to grow unchecked – you exponentially increase the amounts of feces and feathers found in the area.”
Landowners who don’t want geese on their property can 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 percent effective.
In response to these concerns, 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.
“These permits are easy to attain, and can be useful in certain situations – such as a homeowner that may have geese nesting close to home” says Balkcom. “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.”
The permits are available at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s website at www.fws.gov/permits. 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.
The nesting season for geese is underway now, 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.
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.
For more information, visit the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service website at www.fws.gov/permits. For a brochure on a variety of methods of dealing with nuisance geese, visit www.georgiawildlife.com (Select “Hunting”, “Game Management” and “Nuisance Canada Geese”).