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, any increase in the goose population, especially in urban areas, typically brings more 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,” said Greg Balkcom, state waterfowl biologist for the Wildlife Resources Division. “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.”
• Harassment: 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.
• 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.
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 under way, and landowners and land managers who have problems with geese may be able to act now and reduce their nuisance problems later this year.
• Relocation or lethal methods: Homeowners who would like to reduce or eliminate the population on their property can obtain a permit from their local Wildlife Resources Division Game Management Section office (www.georgiawildlife.com/about/contact). This permit allows them to have the 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).
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, go to www.fws.gov/permits. For a brochure on methods of dealing with nuisance geese, go to www.georgiawildlife.com.