The Canada goose lives in a variety of habitats, often in locations that are in close proximity to people, such as suburban neighborhood ponds, office complexes, parks, and other developed areas. This can become a frustration factor for landowners when geese begin to molt in the summer, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division (WRD).
“Each summer, in late June and early July, complaints about geese tends to go up,” says WRD State Waterfowl Biologist Greg Balkcom. “This uptick in complaints goes hand-in-hand with the fact that geese go through a molting process in summer, during which they lose their flight feathers and are in the process of growing new ones.”
What can you do if you have goose problems? During most times of the year, geese can be scared away with the use of harassment techniques. But, because geese cannot fly during the molt, these techniques may not work. During the molting season, 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 will likely move on.
However, if geese continue to cause problems, here are a few tips to try and reduce the trouble:
• 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 require consistency from the property owner and are not always 100% effective. More information can be found at www.georgiawildlife.com/nuisancewildlife (scroll down and click on “Canada Geese”).
• Relocation or Lethal Methods: 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 (list found at 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, visit www.georgiawildlife.com/nuisancewildlife.