The Canada goose is an adaptable bird that can live in a variety of locations, including open farmland and rural reservoirs to suburban neighborhood ponds, office complexes, parks and other developed areas.
This proximity to people sometimes leads to frustration, especially in summer, when everyone heads outdoors to potentially discover areas of feathers and feces.
However, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division asks people to be patient with geese.
“Each summer, geese go through a molting process during which they lose their flight feathers and grow new ones,” WRD State Waterfowl Biologist Greg Balkcom said. “During the molt, there is a period of a few weeks in late June and early July when geese can’t fly. It is typically during this time that landowners and homeowners often get irritated with the amount of goose feces and feathers left behind.”
Because geese cannot fly during the molt, these techniques may not work, making people frustrated when the geese just won’t leave. In these cases, WRD personnel encourage affected landowners and homeowners to be patient. The new feathers will soon grow in, and the geese will regain their ability to fly and likely will move on.
However, if geese continue to cause problems, here are a few tips to try and reduce the trouble:
• Landowners first can try harassment techniques including chemical repellents, mylar balloons, wire/string barriers and noise makers. However, they require consistency from the property owner and are not always 100 percent effective.
• Homeowners who want to reduce or eliminate the goose population on their property can obtain a permit from their local WRD game-management office (www.georgiawildlife.com/about/contact). This permit allows them to have geese captured and relocated to a suitable area or allows them to legally and lethally remove the animals. The removal can be done by the homeowner or by a licensed nuisance wildlife trapper (www.georgiawildlife.com/nuisancewildlife).
Canada geese are a protected species under state and federal law. It is illegal to hunt, kill, sell, purchase or possess them except according to Georgia’s migratory bird regulations.