SUCCESSFUL “NON-LETHAL” GOOSE MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES
There is only one explanation for a failed non-lethal goose abatement program. The program was ill-designed and not carried out in all sincerity with humane intentions.
In reality, there are not too many geese. They simply visit
areas some people deem inconvenient – areas where humans have manipulated
natural landscapes. The establishment of lush green lawns, manicured parks,
recreational facilities, corporate parks, golf courses, agricultural lands and
man-made bodies of water act as welcome mats. However, the establishment of
unnatural landscapes is not the sole cause of the human/goose conflicts
communities are experiencing today. Equal responsibility rests at the feet of
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, whose restoration programs led to the
establishment of “resident” goose populations in States where no resident geese
had bred before, including
Although the non-lethal goose abatement techniques, below, have proven successful, they do not address the aforementioned fundamental root causes of the conflicts. It is not in our best interest or that of the geese, indeed all wildlife, to abandon responsible stewardship of the land and ignore the mis-magement practices of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The best time to act is late winter, before nesting begins in March or as soon as the
There are many successful, non-lethal ways to discourage
in your area. Persistent application of a combination of non-lethal methods is usually necessary to yield the best results. Don’t rule out any non-lethal technique that might be feasible.
is permissible to harass
are not touched or harmed in any way. Any person causing injury or death to a goose
while engaged in dispersement activities will be subject to a fine for having violated the
Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
wishing to exclude
ordinances for codes or restrictions that may apply to certain hazing techniques,
including but not limited to possession and discharge of a bird launch gun, the
use of pyrotechnics and dog leash laws.
No-Feeding Waterfowl Ordinance - Many people enjoy feeding the geese but
feeding can cause large numbers of geese to congregate where others don’t
appreciate the birds’ presence. Once feeding is discontinued, geese will disperse
and revert to their natural foods.
Feeding waterfowl on public property should be prohibited. A No-Feeding
Waterfowl Ordinance must be enforced to be effective and may require a penalty
sufficient to deter the activity. Signs should be erected, stating the ordinance number
and dollar amount of fine.
for resting, feeding and breeding. Habitat modifications make an area less
suitable to geese and limits the number that can exist there.
Geese graze on grass. Frequently mowed and fertilized grass is an excellent food
(proteins and carbohydrates) for geese.
tall vegetation. To make grass areas less attractive: (1) Limit lawn size; let grass
grow 10 inches to 14 inches in height, especially along shorelines. (2) Plant species
which are less palatable to geese, such as tall fescue or ground covers like
periwinkle, euonymus, Japanese pachysandra and English ivy. Also, dense-growing
plants, which can hide predators, making grazing and nesting areas less attractive.
During landscaping, do not create small islands or peninsulas in ponds. Where these
features already exist, consider changes to make the areas unavailable to the geese.
Fencing: Artificial/Natural - Geese prefer to land on water and walk up onto
adjacent grassy areas to feed and rest. Perhaps the most effective tools for
controlling goose movement, especially during the summer flightless period, are
fences, hedge rows, and other physical barriers. All fences should completely
enclose the site, with no breaks for geese to sneak through. To be effective, fences
should be at least 30 inches tall. A fence-like barrier may also be created by planting
hedges of boxwood or privet.
Border Collies - Due to their herding abilities, Border collies, which are trained
to chase but not harm, have been extremely effective in dispersing geese from
golf courses, parks, athletic fields and corporate properties. Except where permitted,
compliance with local leash laws or park regulations is still required. Initially,
hazing must be done several times per day for several weeks, after which less
frequent but regular patrols will be needed. Geese will not become acclimated to
the threat of being hazed by dogs they perceive as predators.
For moral and ethical reasons, dogs should not be used when geese are nesting or
unable to fly during molting and brood raising seasons, generally April thru August.
An analysis of the efficacy of a Border collie program implemented in 1990 to
geese and the problems associated with their presence. The Border collie program
was effective in addressing overabundance of
Society Bulletin, Vol. 28, No. 2 (Summer, 2000)
Egg Addling - Inhibits embryo growth and prevents eggs from hatching. Viewed by
some as a lethal form of goose control and by others, non-lethal, this practice is a
Anyone wishing to addle Canada goose eggs MUST REGISTER
before taking action. If registering online is not possible, then a federal permit
MUST be obtained from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Anyone addling
eggs without permission is subject to a fine under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
Other Non-lethal Control Techniques: With the exception of a Border collie, no
one harassment technique works well alone but used in combination, success can
· Bird Scaring Reflective Tape (Mylar)
· Flagging and Balloons
· Remote Control Boats
· Pyrotechnics - Shell crackers – Bird bangers – Dissuader guns
(Check ordinances for codes and restrictions- permit may be required)
· Life-like coyote statues
· Scare windmill
· Sonic bird repeller
· Flashing beacon – Away With Geese
(Designed to disrupt the sleep of geese roosting on water at night.)
Resolving Canada Goose Conflicts