Canada Geese

(Scientific Name: Branta canadensis)

Canada Geese are everywhere.  You have seen them around in their groups called gaggles. You may have even admired them. But in recent years they have become a big problem. Golf Courses, beach front property owners and community parks have been fouled with goose droppings. A Canadian Goose, while a majestic bird, can deposit about a half a pound of fecal material on your grass each and every day. The problem of course is how to get rid of them.

#Canada Goose Biology

#Laws Regarding Canada Geesegoose standing.JPG (54201 bytes)

Canada Geese Control Strategies
         Methods that don't require a Permit
         Methods that require a Permit

If you would like a copy of "Managing Canada Geese in Urban Environments", a booklet which covers all the available Canada Geese control techniques available visit books.php Before proceeding with any goose control operation, you must have this booklet.


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Canada Goose Biology

Nesting: Canada Geese tend to nest in the New England area aroundCanada goose nesting.JPG (129219 bytes) mid march to early April. At that time they pair up and begin to lay eggs.


Canada Geese Damage

1. Feces can cause people to slip and fall. For elderly people a fall can be life threatening as broken hips can cause life threatening morbidity. See "N.J. Bothered By Goose Droppings"By GEOFF MULVIHILL .c The Associated PressMOUNT LAUREL, N.J. (AP) May 7, 2002.

2. Feces suspected to be involved with high bacteria counts in waterways.

3. Geese can injure people and aircraft.


Laws Regarding Canada Geese

Canada Geese are protected under the North American Migratory Bird Treaty which was ratified earlier in this century. Essentially it provides legal protection of birds that migrate across national borders of Mexico. The treaty allows the birds to be killed during either a regulated hunting season or when they are committing property or crop damage.

The trouble is while you might think that you are suffering property damage, the government requires that non-lethal options be tried first. Only after non-lethal options have been tried will the government give you a permit for lethal control.

Here is a press release from the Fisheries and Wildlife Service

August 19, 1999                      Chris Tollefson 202-208-5634

                    CANADA GOOSE POPULATIONS

In an effort to reduce human conflicts with resident Canada goose populations in urban and suburban communities, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that it has begun to develop a nationwide management strategy for resident Canada geese.

The Service published a notice in today's Federal Register of its intent to study ways to control and manage increasing populations of resident Canada geese that pose a threat to human health or safety, or that cause damage to personal and public property. An Environmental Impact Statement will be prepared with the goal of providing states with more management flexibility and authority to deal with resident Canada goose populations, while establishing criteria for population goals and objectives, management planning and population monitoring.

"Over the years, the Service has repeatedly taken action to address immediate problems caused by resident goose populations in our communities. But with populations continually multiplying across the nation, we recognize that new and innovative strategies will have to be developed to protect the public and ensure the long-term health of these waterfowl," said Acting Service Director John Rogers. "Our goal is to develop a long-term strategy to integrate management of these birds with other federal and state agency efforts, as well as our existing waterfowl flyway system."

Most Canada goose populations are migratory, wintering in the southern United States and migrating north to summer breeding grounds in the Canadian arctic. But increasing urban and suburban development in the U.S. has resulted in the creation of ideal goose habitat conditions--park-like open areas with short grass adjacent to small bodies of water--resulting in growing numbers of locally-breeding geese that live year round on golf courses, parks, airports and other public and private property.

In temperate climates across the United States, these placesprovide geese with relatively stable breeding habitat and low numbers of predators. In addition, hunting is usually not allowed in urban and suburban areas, restricting the ability of state and local authorities to control populations using traditional methods. Those resident populations that do migrate often fly only short distances compared to their migratory relatives that breed in Canada. For these reasons, resident Canada goose populations enjoy consistently high reproduction and survival rates.

In recent years, biologists have documented tremendous increases in populations of Canada geese that nest predominantly within the United States. Recent surveys suggest that the Nation's resident breeding population now exceeds 1 million birds in both the Atlantic and the Mississippi flyways and is continuing to increase. In the Mississippi Flyway alone, the 1998 spring Canada goose population estimate exceeded 1.1 million birds, an increase of 21 percent from 1997.

Resident Canada goose populations are increasingly coming into conflict with human activities in many parts of the country. In parks and other open areas near water, large goose flocks denude lawns of vegetation and create conflicts with their droppings and feather litter. Goose droppings in heavy concentrations can overfertilize lawns, contribute to excessive algae growth in lakes that can result in fish kills, and potentially contaminate municipal water supplies. Geese have also been involved in a growing number of aircraft strikes at airports across the country, resulting in dangerous takeoff and landing conditions and costly repairs.

For decades, the Service attempted to address the problem by adjusting hunting season frameworks and issuing control permits on a case-by-case basis. But hunting restrictions in most urban and suburban communities have limited efforts to increase the harvest of resident geese, and the Service has been overwhelmed by requests for control permits. For example, the Service's Midwest region issued 149 permits authorizing resident Canada goose control efforts in 1994, including trapping and relocation, egg and nest destruction, and take of adults. In 1998, the region issued 225 permits. All of the Service's regions report similar growth in the number of requests for permits.

On June 17, the Service created a new special Canada goose permit that gives state wildlife agencies the opportunity to design their own management programs and to take actions to control specific resident goose populations without having to seek a separate permit from the Service for each action. Designed to give states greater flexibility to respond to specific problems with resident geese, the new permit should satisfy the need for an efficient short-term management program until a comprehensive long-term management strategy can be developed and implemented.

The Service has identified a series of potential alternatives for dealing with resident Canada goose conflicts that could be evaluated in the EIS. Potential options include non-lethal methods such as managing habitat to make it less attractive to geese; harassment, trapping and relocation of birds; as well as more direct population stabilization and reduction programs. The final set of alternatives to be analyzed in the EIS will be determined based on comments received during a public scoping process that began with publication of today's Federal Register notice.

Public scoping meetings will be held in states experiencing conflicts with resident goose populations. The location, date and time of those meetings has not been determined, but will be announced in a future notice in the Federal Register.The Service encourages public comment on the scope of the EIS. Written comments should be submitted by October 18, 1999, addressed to the Chief, Office of Migratory Bird Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior, ms 634 ARLSQ, 1849 C St., NW, Washington, D.C. 20240. For further information contact the Office of Migratory Bird Management, (703) 358-1714.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting, and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 93- million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System comprised of more than 500 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands, and other special management areas. It also operates 66 national fish hatcheries, 64 fish and wildlife management assistance offices and 78 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces Federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state wildlife agencies.

                            -F W S-
News releases are also available on the World Wide Web at  

Questions concerning a particular news release or item of information should be directed to the person listed as the contact. General comments or observations concerning the content of the information should be directed to Mitch Snow ( in the Office of Public Affairs.


For Canada Geese Control Strategies

If you would like a copy of "Managing Canada Geese in Urban Environments", a booklet covering all the available Canada Geese control techniques available visit books.php

For more on controlling Canada Geese click canadageesenonpermit.php and Canada Geese Permit

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