Canada Goose.webp

Canada Geese and the Damages They Cause

There is nothing more majestic or awe-inspiring than a V formation of Canadian geese flying south for the winter. The birds usually winter in the southern United States and spend the summer in more northern areas including most of Canada.  Canadian geese have been known to find areas of the United States that provide all the needs for living and remain in that area all year long.  (Resident geese vs. Migratory Geese).  In New Jersey, the population of resident geese has been on the rise.

Canada Geese prefer areas that have water that provides cover as well as fish and shellfish for food. The birds also eat grain foods like corn, wheat, and barley.  In general, geese will feed on grass and related vegetation for about 12 or more hours a day.

One of the unique characteristics of the Canadian goose and one of the sources of the problems that the birds cause is the bird’s ready acclimation to people and the habitations of people.  Females that are nesting are very protective of their eggs and very aggressive toward human contact.  Canada Geese are a protected bird species under the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act (16 USCS 703-712). 

As such, this bird species cannot be harmed in any way.  Specifically, this bird species is protected under U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).  Within the state of New Jersey, the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife (NJDFW) agency provides protection under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, Federal Regulations (50 CFR 10, 13, 20 & 21), NJ Statutes Annotated Title 23, and the NJ Game Code. 

Bird Damage 

Canadian geese have become an increasing problem to people in several aspects.

Any body of water is a potential home for Canadian geese.  The mothers will attack people to protect their nests. The birds also leave a huge amount of bird droppings “feces” all over the parking lots and other parts of the facility that must be cleaned up.

More seriously, Canadian geese have come to call airports home. Flights of geese colliding with airplanes during takeoff and landing have caused the death of 24 people and the crash of seven planes in the last 20 years.  

Geese can devastate crops. Canadian geese migrate in very large groups that can number in the thousands. If the birds come to reside in a growing crop field the field can be totally wiped out by the birds.  The dangers to aircraft, the loss of income to farmers, and the nuisance to golfers and other recreation areas are the major reasons the United States government has instituted a planned control of Canadian geese. Canadian geese are a protected species in Canada.

Potential Health Dangers from Canadian Geese

​Canadian geese can acquire and carry all known forms of bird flu. Some birds seem to have developed immunity to these viruses but they can transfer the diseases to other birds, animals, and humans. Most known bird flues usually kill Canadian geese. Cases of Bird flu are responsible for a huge cull of chickens in the United States. Some bird flu is deadly to humans because the virus has become antibiotic-resistant. Canadian geese are used as a measure of the spread of bird flu due to the bird’s extensive range.  Many Canadian geese like the beach. The deposit of huge amounts of feces on beaches by Canadian geese as well as leaving feces on parking lots and other areas is thought to have increased the number of fecal coliform bacteria on beaches and in the waters people swim in.

Fecal coliform bacteria can cause a variety of diseases in people including hepatitis, typhoid, dysentery, ear infections, and gastrointestinal diseases. Some deaths have been reported in children that can be traced directly to swimming in waters contaminated by Canadian goose waste.  Most human diseases that Canadian geese can transfer to people do not require direct contact with the bird’s excrement. Even breathing air that is around goose excrement is sufficient to transfer bacteria and viruses that can be deadly.

Control Options Strategies

There are several Geese Management Control options that are available.  Each control methods have pros and cons and varying expense associated with the method.  It is important to understand that the success of each control method will vary depending upon the implementation time frame and the frequency of treatment.  For example, if a control method is implemented late in the season after the geese have had a chance to establish nesting, the treatment will be less lily to succeed. 

Turf & Ornamental Treatments

Prior to the implementation of turf or ornamental treatments, all the bird droppings should be completely removed.  The reason for this initial step is because geese are attracted to the smell of the bird droppings that are left behind).

Because geese are attracted to areas that have both grass and a water body near, they will graze on the vegetation.  By treating the turf or ornamentals, the geese will be discouraged from continuing to feed on treated areas and will seek alternative food source locations.    

The benefit of turf application is that the goose repellent will remain and protect the treated areas 24 hours a day.  Depending upon the weather conditions, the treatment can remain effective for weeks.  

How the turf applications work.  The repellent will give a bad taste to the geese when they attempt to feed on the grass or other treated areas. The unpleasant taste will force them to leave the treated areas a look elsewhere for an alternative food source.  This treatment is a feeding aversion with the active ingredient Methyl Anthranilate).  The treatment irritates the goose’s trigeminal system, which is like a human’s sense of smell.  When the geese don’t feed, they will not produce bird droppings.  

Depending upon the population of resident and non-resident geese, a single treatment should deter the geese from the treatment areas. However, additional treatments may be required to deter stubborn birds from desired areas.  In addition, we add a product called Invisidye. The dye is an ultra-violet additive that is not visible to the human eye but only to birds.  When added with the Bird Stop Taste Aversion, the geese will see the dye and begin to associate the color with the taste aversion deterrent and its undesirable effects.   

The treatment is safe, biodegradable, and in the organic chemical family. 

Sound Deterrents

Depending upon how severe the bird pressure, there are several sound based deterrents that are available to distress the geese from large areas.  The unique sound produced makes areas less attractive for geese to feed and nest.  Based upon several interactions with the unpleasant sound, the geese’s behavior is modified no to return to treated areas.  Units can cover larger areas up to 6 acres.

Visual Deterrents

Visual deterrent devices are intended to replicate predators of the target bird species.  Thus, producing and an intimidating visual scare response so that the birds are deterred from inhabiting the treated areas.  Visual deterrents are low costs and initial step that is often tried for low-pressure bird problems.  In most cases, if a bird problem is moderate to heavy pressure, visual deterrents will not be effective in solving your bird problem.

Herding Dogs (Border Collies)

The Border Collie breed has the innate herding ability.  This dog species mimics an Arctic Fox which is a known predator of the Canada Goose.  Thus, when the geese see a Border Collie, their internal wiring is to take flight because they think they are being pursued by a predator.  The dog will pursue/harass the geese and herd them from the areas to be treated.  The dogs will never harm the geese and can cover large amounts of areas.

This method of Canada Goose control will be the most effective when there are no bodies of water or very small bodies of water because the geese will be forced to move elsewhere when harassed.  They will not easily be able to retreat to a large body of water.  The use of dogs to control geese typically requires a continued program that is supplemented with additional management techniques.  

Grid Wire Systems

In the situation where geese are invading a large body of water or a rooftop, a grid wire system can be installed deter the geese from landing in the water or the rooftop.  Each grid wire system is unique to the site-specific needs.  

Population Management 

Another control measure to slow down the number of geese that can be utilized is reproduction control, i.e. addling of geese eggs.  It is important to note that there is a special permit process and regulations that need to be followed.  You must check all applicable laws and regulations prior to the implementation of this control measure.

Eggs are treated with an oil that prohibits the gas exchange with the egg and the environmental air.  The addling process is approximately 97% effective and humane.  Once the process is undertaken, the egg and nesting area should be marked.  The nest and the egg should be re-inspected two additional times at two-week intervals to see if any additional eggs have been laid.  

Additional Control Methods

Control measures such as laser beams, light beacons, drones, and other mechanical devices can also be effective in deterring geese depending upon the site-specific requirements.

In most cases, depending upon the time of year, how severe the bird pressure, property features, size of area, several control options may need to be integrated to manage the geese populations. 

Potential Problem Areas...

  • Golf Courses & Marinas

  • Schools & Sports Fields

  • Commercial Parks & Complexes

  • Airports & Transportation Facilities

  • City Parks & Recreation fields

  • Parking lots & Municipal complexes

  • Cemeteries & Open areas near bodies of water

  • Condos & Apartment Complexes

  • Big box stores & Retail Stores

Canada Geese Cause Problems...

  • Bird droppings & Feathers

  • Noise & Foul odors

  • Damage to flower beds, landscaping, and vegetation

  • Clogging of roof drains & Vents

  • Contamination of bodies of water

  • Vectors of diseases from the bird droppings 

  • Aggressive behavior protecting nesting

  • Interfering with Airplanes & Transportation

Let Aviaway develop a bird management program to remedy your specific goose problem.  With over 30 years of designing and installing bird control systems, Aviaway will ensure that the bird control program solves your specific bird problem.