A Conversation for Canada Geese

controlling urban geese

Post 1

bludragon, aka the Dragon Queen of Damogran

The favorite habitats of urban geese are golf courses, parks, or other such places where the grass is nitrogen-high due to care and fertilization.

Many methods have been tried to keep the goose poplulation away from these areas. Some of these methods raise the ire of animal rights activists; such as poisoning, hunting, etc.

A more functional solution is to create a 'doggie patrol'. The border collie is admirably suited for this work. They discourage the geese from feeding and nesting in the parks or golf courses. They can be taught what area to patrol, they are tireless, they do not hurt the geese. And they are a delight to watch work. Many places have begun to use this method with excellent results.

For private homes which border water, there is another very simple solution to keep the geese off of your lawn. Just stretch a string across the lawn at the edge of the water. That's all, just a string. Doesnt have to have any noisemakers or twirly things on it. [You might want to space some kind of markers across the string so YOU don't trip over it.] It keeps the geese from coming past and leaving their signature on your lawn. It works, try it.

}:=8


controlling urban geese

Post 2

John the gardener says, "Free Tibet!"

Thanks for your comments.

Another method of control is oiling their eggs. This is done with ordinary mineral oil. It works by sealing the pores in the egg shells and thereby asphyxiating the embryo. This is considered a humane control method when embryos are in the early stages of development. Naturally, it should not be done to chicks that are close to hatching. Simply removing the eggs doesn't work, because mama goose will lay more; but as long as the original clutch is in the nest, she will usually continue to incubate them.

You're right about the effect dogs have on grazing geese. Even a small and relatively harmless dog seems to cause more disquiet in a flock than, say, an insane gardener flailing a rake.

The string solution may be effective for a while; but the geese will soon learn to ignore it, unless there is an easier route to someone else's grass. Part of the reason that geese have become such a problem is that they are intelligent and remarkably adaptive. Some time ago, I exchanged email with a gentleman who had charge of a large property in Alabama; he was, at the time, able to deter Canada geese with scarecrows. That simply wouldn't work in places where the geese are accustomed to being hand fed. In the few years that I have taken part in oiling eggs, the geese have responded by hiding their nests more ingeniously each year and by building nests in stranger places.

JTG


controlling urban geese

Post 3

bludragon, aka the Dragon Queen of Damogran

Hi JTG!

You are probably right about the string. It works for us, but the geese just move down the shoreline until they find somewhere where they CAN get ashore. What always puzzled me is why they dont just fly [or hop, even] OVER the string...

Have you had experience with shaking eggs, as opposed to oiling them? Seems to be the same strategy, but wonder which is most effective? I sorta wish neither one was necessary, tho--although it beats shooting them, I guess.

I still wonder what was the 'trigger' that started their territorial expansion??? Seems to me it was about 25 years ago. Any theories?

}:=8
PS ..image of gardner flailing at geese with rake... hee hee


controlling urban geese

Post 4

John the gardener says, "Free Tibet!"

There's a period of about five weeks when the geese moult; during this time they can't fly for more than a few yards. The moult coincides with the emergence of their young, so their movements are restricted anyway.

I've heard of shaking eggs. I don't know how effective it is. The last thing we need is parks full of geese with addled brains.smiley - winkeye An advantage of spraying the eggs with oil is that it is virtually 100% effective; it is also fast, which means that disturbance of the adults is minimal (they could leave the nest and start again somewhere else, if you upset them too much), and you can easily cover a lot of ground (or water, as the case may be).

It would be interesting to learn if there is a specific cause to the current population boom, or whether the expansion has been fairly steady, but only recently crossed the threshold of public awareness.

JTG


controlling urban geese

Post 5

Jimi X

I would imagine it has to do with a lack of natural predators. Mankind looks down on wolves, foxes, wild cats and the like since they tend to eat domestic stock right along with the wild stuff. I think I read that some where, but I'll need to heck my sources ....

- X


controlling urban geese

Post 6

bludragon, aka the Dragon Queen of Damogran

hmmmm...seems reasonable. I seem to remember reading theories about this myself, but cant remember any of it.

What I wonder is that we are seeing geese in places that were cultivated before, but had no geese. Now--all of a sudden--geese where previously there were grassy spaces but no geese.

An example is a big island park in the Detroit River called Belle Isle. When I was little [back when dinosaurs walked the earth] there were ducks in the park. Lotsa ducks. Mallards mostly. No geese. Other than the occasional escapee white domestic ones.

Within the last few years geese have appeared, multiplied, and taken over the feeding area, to the extent that there are very few resident ducks any more. There are no fewer predators there than before. So I dunno what the reason is for the influx of geese into that area.

Odd.

}:=8


controlling urban geese

Post 7

John the gardener says, "Free Tibet!"

You raise an interesting point. People with a soft spot for geese should be helped to understand that other waterfowl are being displaced by them.

There has been quite an obvious increase in the urban population of foxes around here over the past two or three years. I wonder how that will affect the growth rate of goose populations. They are like geese in that they are capable making opportunistic adjustments in their behaviour to take advantage of a new niche. Maybe the geese are about to meet their match.

...Or, with my luck, the foxes will also develop a taste for flower beds.smiley - sadface

JTG


Key: Complain about this post

controlling urban geese

Write an Entry

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a wholly remarkable book. It has been compiled and recompiled many times and under many different editorships. It contains contributions from countless numbers of travellers and researchers."

Write an entry
Read more