University of Illinois Extension


John Church
Extension Educator, Natural Resources
Rockford Extension Center

Past Issues

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Discouraging Canada Geese

With spring here, many people will be spending more time outdoors working or relaxing. Sites near ponds or other water areas are often popular while at home or possibly eating lunch at work. But, as many home and business owners know, Canada geese have gone from a popular wildlife species that was fun to watch during their V-shaped migration flights to a much less popular, even undesirable, nuisance around many of those favorite suburban ponds and lakes.

The population of permanent non-migrating geese has increased significantly in the last decade. As a permanent "resident," the geese leave large amounts of droppings, eat turfgrass down to the bare soil, and can be a pest with their charging and honking.

One of the main reasons for them to reside year-round is that new, desirable environments have been created in many suburban subdivisions, corporate complexes, golf courses, and other areas with bodies of water. Canada geese prefer areas that have short, tender grass; fresh sources of drinking water that do not freeze; shorelines with easy access to and from the water; and security from predators. These conditions are often present in suburban settings.

Changing the environment can discourage geese from staying in a specific area. Create a less desirable habitat. A rather easy, cost-effective way is to plant shoreline buffers of taller, native plants that make it more difficult for the geese to enter and leave the water. The buffers also help provide protection from lawn pesticides and nutrients from entering the water and provide better infiltration of water. They can also provide habitat for less troublesome wildlife species. The geese do not like to move from the water onto land through such plantings.

Another major method of discouragement is by not allowing feeding of the birds at the pond or lake. Other ways to discourage the geese include physical barriers along the shoreline, such as fencing; introducing natural "enemies" such as swans or trained herding dogs; using scare tactics such as noise or visual deterrents; using commercial repellants; or allowing the lake to freeze.

Remember, though, the birds are protected by federal migratory bird laws. It is unlawful to injure the birds, offspring, or eggs, without the proper permits and/or license. The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service can provide information on the law and possible permits.

April - May 2005: Discouraging Canada Geese | Diseases and Insects of Shrubs and Small Trees | Springtime Is Rose Time


Past Issues

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