Helping Canada Geese

Sagacity, wariness, strength and fidelity are characteristics of the Canada goose which, collectively, are possessed in the same degree by no other bird. (Ducks Geese Swans of North America, F.H. Kortright)

The majestic Canada goose is an exceptional bird. Canada geese usually mate for life and are deeply devoted to one another, grieving for years, at the loss of a devoted mate. When treated with kindness, they are gentle, even when wounded or tangled in fishing line. Geese know and will seek out trusted humans for protection, assistance, or simple companionship. Their affinity for humans, often their undoing, is as real as it is misplaced. wonderful, native species. Geese are among the very few birds in which the family does not break up at the end of the breeding season; parents and their young raised during the summer have established strong family bonds and stay together almost a year. (The City Naturalist)

“Residential” Canada geese lost their biological need to migrate to Canada as a result of being captured for use as live decoys in the 20th century. They had their feathers clipped and, consequently, lured other birds to lakes, wetlands and rivers for hunters to kill.

Geese were also bred in captivity. Canada geese always nest in the area where they were born, hence creating the residential population. The main objective of any successful program to reduce geese in a particular area must prevent the geese from nesting.

Fortunately, there are many nonlethal ways to achieve these long-term objectives.

  • Place a ban on public feeding. Feeding can result in the geese becoming dependent on unnatural food sources and cause permanent deformities (angel wing), making the goose unable to fly.
  • Mechanical scare devices, flags, and noise are effective when combined with other methods.

To stop geese killing in your town, read this case study.