How do you "manage" Canada Geese?!
Goose Management programs can vary greatly depending upon the overall objectives of the program and the time of year in which the program is initiated. A successful Canada Goose management program will involve modifying at least two of the three key requirements for a thriving Canada Geese population: Food & Water, Safety and the Ability to Reproduce.
Follow this link if you are unfamiliar with Basic Canada Goose Biology and would like to learn more.
The six steps for Canada Goose Management
- Choose From One of Four (4) Management Objectives
- Determine Available Control Method(s) and Write the Plan
- Before you begin: Preparatory Items/Issues
- Implementation of the Plan
- Plan Assessment
Choose From One of Four (4) Management Objectives
Though a Canada Goose management plan can be started at any time of the year, success rates are higher for complete removal objectives when plans are implemented during the "flight-able" periods. Click here to review and print the Seasons for Canada Geese chart for assistance.
Removal of Geese from Feeding Site
Geese may have between 5 and 12 feeding sites where they can travel to graze and forage. These can generally be identified by small or large concentrations of geese feeding in a given area at a specified time during the day and generally not at sunrise or sunset. Feeding sites are chosen by geese because of an attractive, plentiful food source and the perceived safety of the site. FlightControl® PLUS will deter geese from feeding, encouraging them to abandon the feeding site.
Removal of Geese from Nesting Site
Nesting sites can be identified by a nest
or by observing geese during early morning and late
evening hours. Nesting sites may also contain "roosting piles" of
droppings in addition to individual droppings [see
image below]. It may be difficult to discourage and
repel geese from nesting sites, especially during the
mating season in late winter and early spring. Therefore,
fall and winter applications of FlightControl®
PLUS should be made in these areas prior to nesting to discourage feeding and encourage relocation. Combining FlightControl®
PLUS with a form of harassment or scare tactics will work to remove both the elements of food and safety.
A typical roosting pile
- Herding Geese away from critical
Geese can be herded away from critical areas through the use of repellents or scare tactics. The end user should determine no-tolerance zones or areas where geese populations are NOT acceptable and tolerance zones where geese populations ARE acceptable or can coexist with humans. In these cases, the no-tolerance zone should be treated with FlightControl® PLUS to eliminate the food source and remove the attraction geese have from these critical areas. Depending upon the total size and shape of the property (both treated and untreated), geese may or may not continue to walk over the treated area to feed in untreated areas.
- Relief options during “flightless” period
when geese cannot be relocated
In the spring, geese build nests and lay eggs. The geese will stay with these nests at all costs. Once the goslings are born, they are flightless and will be cared for by the adults. During the molting period (summer months) adult geese are not able to fly long distances to frequent their preferred feeding sites. [Refer to the Seasons for Canada Geese chart]. During this extended time period, geese will generally stay in close proximity to the nesting site to allow for gosling maturity. Scare tactics and FlightControl® PLUS can be management practices to concentrate foraging away from high profile or critical areas.
In certain circumstances when aggressive geese cannot be relocated, or where they have built nests in high traffic areas and are having conflicts with humans, we recommend you contact a Wildlife Control Operator to see if your state will allow for removal of those sites. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO CONFRONT OR HARM AN AGGRESSIVE GOOSE OR ITS NEST. It can be dangerous and is a violation of Federal law.
Determine available control method(s) and write the plan
- Addling if eggs present
Egg addling is a means of population control and deterring future nesting by a mating pair. Canada geese are protected by the Migratory Bird Act; therefore egg addling requires a permit. Egg addling will eliminate gosling populations, resulting in reduced future geese populations at your site. Addling may also cause a mating pair to eventually abandon the nesting site over time if addling is performed yearly. The Humane Society has developed a document on egg addling. You can attempt this process yourself, but most will utilize the services of a Wildlife Control Operator.
- Spraying food source with FlightControl® PLUS
FlightControl® PLUS will deter geese by removal of their food source. Geese feed on FlightControl® PLUS treated turfgrass and experience a temporary yet effective digestive irritation minutes to hours after feeding. The geese will not hesitate to eat treated turf if they have not encountered treated turf before. However, after eating treated turf, the learned memory association to treated turf and a post-ingestional irritation occurs. After one or several encounters with FlightControl® PLUS treated turfgrass, geese associate the UV absorbing material on grass leaves with the digestive irritation. Research has proven that after several encounters with FlightControl® PLUS, birds, including Canada geese, will not eat a treated food source and will seek out non-treated food.
- Habitat modification
Resident Canada geese select nesting or feeding sites which provide safety and easy access to water. These sites can be modified to jeopardize their safety. Habitat modification techniques include allowing native vegetation to grow to 12 inches or higher around the perimeter of the pond, addition of large rocks or riffraff around the water source, or installation of fences or other barriers. These techniques will make water entry and exit more difficult and time consuming which will decrease the sites’ safety appeal.
- Nest destruction/removal
Nest destruction and removal requires a permit. If you have not been able to treat a suspected nesting site with FlightControl® PLUS prior to nesting, we recommend you hire a trained professional (Wildlife Control Operator) to remove the nests if the presence of the protective adults poses a hazard to humans or the geese.
- Posting to stop hand feeding
Waterfowl, including Canada geese, provide enjoyable recreation for people who enjoy watching and feeding birds. However, hand feeding causes birds to feel comfortable around humans in an urban setting causing a greater potential for increased bird encounters. Hand feeding will also attract other flocks to feeding sites, compounding the problem. Lastly, supplemental feeding of food outside their natural diet can be unhealthy for Canada geese.
- Hazing/Scare tactics
Artificial scaring devices or other hazing techniques can be effective in discouraging resident Canada geese. Noise makers, reflective tapes, and pyrotechnics (firecrackers, screamers, noise bombs, etc…) can be effective but can be an annoyance in urban areas. Dogs can also be used to scare or herd resident Canada geese. They can be effective at chasing and discouraging geese. Results can be temporary or short lived if the method of hazing is not present at all times. Also, geese have been known to adapt to most hazing methods and a constant rotation of methods is generally encouraged.
Before you begin: Preparatory Items/Issues
- Federal Permits for addling, removal, round-up
Permits are required for egg addling, removal, and round-ups. We recommend you check with a Certified Goose Manager or you can start by checking with your State's Fish & Wildlife office. Each state has different requirements and waiting periods for permits.
- Preparing the turf for spraying
Areas to be treated with FlightControl® PLUS should be relatively clear of debris and leaves to ensure product will adhere to the target surface (the grass blade). During the summer months, grass should be mowed 1-2 days prior to a FlightControl® PLUS application. This will allow maximum time between mowings and lengthen goose repellency. Clippings and other debris should be collected, mulched, or raked, if possible. Excessively frequent mowing will reduce the amount of product available. Applying a plant growth regulator (PGR) will reduce mowing frequency, thereby lengthening the goose repellency period of FlightControl® PLUS treated turf.
- Hiring a spray company if needed
If you are not set up or authorized to spray yourself, please click on the "Applicators" button at the top of the page to locate a Certified Applicator.
Implementation of the Plan
A successful, integrated goose management program including FlightControl® PLUS can be initiated at any time of year. Successful applications of FlightControl® PLUS are year-round programs. Geese (like dandelions) are a biological entity that will challenge an attractive feeding and nesting site year after year. Resident Canada geese live, dwell, and forage in the same area year round. Resident geese select a site because it provides a good food source, adequate reproductive potential, and safety. Two to four annual applications of FlightControl® PLUS will discourage geese from feeding and may cause them to abandon a site in future years. You should expect geese to challenge a site they currently call "home" for several years.
- How has goose behavior changed?
Geese should be monitored closely during the weeks following a FlightControl® PLUS application. Evaluate whether or not the geese are actively feeding in the treated areas. Also, notice if geese are traveling elsewhere to feed (including just outside of treatment zone) or have abandoned the site completely.
- Change in numbers of geese?
FlightControl® PLUS applications will reduce geese populations over time due to the removal of food. At times, large migratory flocks may invade a site and feed for a short period of time before leaving. Migratory flocks are not permanent and should not be considered a nuisance.
- Are additional measures required?
Continue to evaluate the site to determine if additional management techniques are required to herd or remove the geese.
- RECORD IN A DOCUMENT
Creating records of geese numbers and movements or relocations will aid in the following year's management planning.
- Modify plan for the following season.
- Improve scheduling (for example, put in for permits early enough to meet your State's waiting period and apply FlightControl® PLUS in the fall as soon as grass goes dormant)