Geese Problems

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Canadian geese problem in cincinnati and northern kentuckyGeese problems in greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky

Local populations of Canadian Geese are on the rise. Historically just winter visitors to the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area, many are now year-round residents. Finding ideal homes in the man-made ponds and manicured lawns of golf courses, parks, planned communities and commercial districts, geese have decided to stay and raise families. Although strikingly beautiful, because of their droppings, noise and aggressive behavior, these birds are now considered pests in many areas.

The Canadian Goose is a large, grayish bird. A black head and neck distinctly marked with a white "chinstrap" make them easy to spot. Mating for life, each pair will raise 3 to 8 goslings (babies) every year. Their major food sources are grasses, grains, wheat, beans, rice and corn but they will also eat aquatic plants and sift through pond silt for food. They are so comfortable around human populations that they will even search through garbage cans. Good shelter is easily found in the grasses along ponds and slow moving streams and rivers.

Why are they so numerous?

The Canadian Goose has made an amazing recovery after being almost wiped out in North America in the early 1900’s. With the loss of natural predators, various conservation programs and the availability of safe, favorable habitat, Canadian Geese have not only recovered, but in some areas are now considered a pest.

Living has become so good that many areas which had supported only a migratory visit during the winter, now host large, permanent populations. And while you may start out with one nice couple, their goslings (babies) will find your pond just as suitable as their parents and decide to stay around as well. You may quickly find a large, noisy flock of geese where before you had only one pair.

Why do geese become aggressive?

Geese will become aggressive towards anyone, or anything if they, their nest or goslings are threatened. First the geese will stand erect, spread their wings and produce a hissing sound. Pay attention because the next step is to attack. They may then bite or attack with their wings. These attacks can be serious and frightening, coming on suddenly. Children and others who do not react quickly enough can be hurt either directly by the goose, or by accidents occurring as they try to escape.

How can they be controlled?

It is highly recommended that action be taken at the first sign of a breeding couple, before they nest and settle in. However, because Canadian Geese are protected under the Federal Migratory Bird Act, many management techniques are regulated. In general this means that any physical harm to the birds, nests or eggs, including trapping and removal, are regulated by the federal government and require a permit.

There are numerous non-physical deterrents that can be used to make your property less appealing. These range from pyrotechnics and noise makers to physical barriers, visual repellents (scarecrows, lasers) and habitat modification. These have limited success but typically do not require a permit. In fact, these harassment techniques must be tried before a federal permit will even be considered.

The Most Effective Solution…

If a Canadian Goose wants to homestead on your Cincinnati or Northern Kentucky pond, be prepared to act quickly if your property is not suitable for a large, messy flock of waterfowl. Even a single mating pair can be a problem if they are aggressive and located in a high-traffic area.

Because of the persistence and aggressiveness of Canadian Geese and, most importantly, the regulations and permitting required to use many control techniques, the best approach is to call an experienced, licensed wildlife control professional.

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