Those who have
spent very much time near a lake, pond or a river in past years,
realize Canada geese are becoming a real problem. Once they pick a
spot, they like to take up residence or return to the same nesting spot
In one year, the Pennsylvania Canada goose
population increased by some 45,000 geese, going from an estimated
254,000 in 2003 to 299,000 in 2004.
It's estimated that a goose eats 4 or 5 pounds of grass a day and
defecates every 8 minutes, producing over one pound of feces per day. The mess they leave behind discourages any
sort of outdoor activity in that area. Their feces can contain many
potentially harmful human pathogens including Giardia, Salmonella, and
Shigella, just to name a few. While these pathogens usually cause very
few problems with healthy individuals, small children, the elderly, and
immunosuppressed individuals should not risk exposure. Anyone mowing
goose populated turf areas should wear a dust mask.
Canada geese are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.
Therefore, other than licensed hunting in season, other lethal control
measures require a permit from US Fish & Wildlife. In the SW
Pennsylvania area you can reach USDA Wildlife Services at 724-238-7320
ABOUT A CANADA GOOSE:
The geese in SW Pennsylvania are Giant Canada Geese, weighing as much as
24 pounds and living up to 20 years.
are resident and some are migratory. Resident geese live in the same
area year round, and prefer to walk or swim instead of flying.
clutch is 5 eggs with an incubation period of 27 days. A goose can
produce 50 offspring during a lifetime.
from mid-June thru August, loosing their flight feathers and the
ability to fly. Adults are flightless for 5 weeks and goslings 10 weeks.
mate for life and also show great fidelity for their nesting sites
returning year after year.
need three things: safety, food and water.
Most control strategies
should aim at affecting at least 2 of their 3 needs.
Cultural tactics include:
DO NOT FEED THE GEESE!!!
It used to be permissible to harass geese on your own property without a
permit, as long as you didn't touch them.
You now need a permit for
harassment of geese in Pennsylvania. Landowners cannot just go
out and harass geese without a state or federal permit unless
they have a Pest Control license from the state.
Scare devices include
sirens, horns, whistles, screamers, whistle bombs, cracker shells,
distress calls, spot lights and even laser lights. Remote control
boats are also used. A stuffed coyote with 2 carefully positioned
"dead" geese decoys can work well if repositioned.
Change tactics and methods often.
Reduce mowed turf areas - geese love short, lush grass. Limit easy
access from grazing areas to the water, especially during molt.
Make the area look unsafe with groups of tall, thick
habitat - lush grass right next to the water
Use Border Collies as potential predators.
Grape-flavored 'ReJexit' is aversive to geese. 'Flight Control
Plus' causes stomach discomfort when ingested by geese. Geese
begin to avoid treated areas.
These all require a permit and include egg addling, round-ups and
Emerald Ash Borers
Insect pests in the landscape