Canada geese are dignified and handsome birds. Kindhearted strangers can’t resist the urge to feed them, often in defiance (and in plain sight of) posted warnings to the contrary. And turfgrass is king. So for the foreseeable future geese will continue to bedevil groundskeepers, golf course managers, health departments, property owners, and casual strollers alike. Because the birds are protected by a thicket of game laws, you can’t poison them, and you can’t shoot them without a license. But there are plenty of alternatives, some effective and some merely amusing. This file has them all. Here you will learn a little bit about geese and their ways, and what you can do to keep problem geese at a distance--or at least to get them to move over to the next yard.
As long as these birds were few in number and kept themselves tantalizingly remote, their familiar V-shaped flight formations were welcomed as a picturesque symbol of seasonal change. Nowadays Canada geese are greeted less warmly by many people. There are simply too many geese, and they have become less and less migratory. Indeed, they have become a kind of avian urban sprawl. Large flocks now settle semipermanently on lawns, golf courses, parklands, ponds, beaches, and farmlands. Lacking natural enemies, they tear up turf, gobble crops and ornamental plantings, build large nests, and raise large families. Their voluminous droppings (about ½ pound per bird per day) grossly pollute the soil and water, and have even caused fatal epidemics among other waterfowl. Along with other gregarious species such as seagulls and pigeons, they are a potential hazard at many airports.
Most Obvious Symptoms
Even when no geese are around, you know they are there. Just look down and step carefully. The turf will have a chewed-over look and in summer will also be strewn with masses of feathers when the birds are molting (shedding old feathers for new). Most obvious will be dozens of two to three inch long green colored goose turds. On a warm, windless day, the area may smell like a barnyard.