Migratory geese are elegant, charming creatures. Their brief visits during fall and winter make them very manageable. However, migratory goose populations are declining and resident populations of geese are increasing. Protected by law, having few predators and unafraid of humans, resident geese are exploding in numbers and stay throughout the year.
The Impact of Resident Geese on Lakes
These resident geese are extremely messy with abundant droppings and detached feathers. They cause extensive damage to turf, gardens and golf courses. They can even be a health concern. About the only certainty with geese is that if fed, they are completely uncontrollable. Feeding disrupts the normal behavior of geese and control efforts are eventually rendered ineffective. If left uncontrolled, disease is likely to spread throughout overcrowded populations. We have researched and experimented using the most effective control methods, and although a number of methods exist, there is not one sure way to control resident geese populations. Below is a list of the different methods. Often a combination is most effective. Whichever method you choose to pursue, the most important thing to remember is to take action immediately - as soon as geese arrive, and be diligent - do not let the geese get comfortable.
How to remove geese from my lake
Federal laws protect geese from being hunted outside of established hunting seasons. Often, there is no hunting season for migratory Canada geese. North Carolina however, does have a special hunting season for resident geese during September, before migratory geese arrive. Due to safety regulations, hunting is not an option in many areas where geese are overpopulated. Although federal law prohibits killing geese, it does not prohibit harassing them, so most control methods rely on harassment.
Shoreline plantings: Geese often like to walk out of a lake to feed on nearby grass. Simply planting native shoreline sedges and other shoreline plants along the edge will discourage many geese. The shoreline plantings can be very attractive and will help to protect the shoreline from wind waves, help filter sediment and utilize excess nutrients that can contribute to filamentous algae growth.
Alternative physical barriers: A low fence, reflective Mylar ribbon, foil flags, strands of wire and even electric fencing can be effective if installed at the water’s edge or suspended over the water surface. We sell Goose-D-Fence, which has been designed to deter geese. It uses heavy monofilament “fishing” line attached to a special reel. The line is run through clips attached to short “post” rods. It can be quickly removed and replaced for lawn maintenance.
Swans: Swans are territorial and often chase geese away from lakes. Swans that have been pinioned so they can’t fly are available for around $600.00 per pair. They are very aggressive during nesting and will “attack” people that get too close. However, a nesting platform can be provided in the open water part of the lake to keep swans away from the shoreline.
Scare devices: Various scare devices such as exploding devices, recorded screeching noises, ugly eyes on plastic balls, fake owls and reflective Mylar ribbon can be effective if moved frequently and diligently. Several devices are usually better than one. One new device, Animal Away, creates a high-pitched screech that scares animals but is not heard by humans. It has an infrared motion detector and is only activated when animals approach within 45 feet. It uses one 9-volt battery.
Other scare devices are described at http://icwdm.org/handbook/birds/canadageese/ControlTechniquesHome.aspx.
Repellents: One of the most effective repellents, ReJex It, has a very strong grape flavor and apparently tastes very bitter to geese. Geese don’t like to eat treated grass. A separate formulation gives the lake water the same objectionable flavor and helps encourage the geese to leave. The repellent must be sprayed on dry grass and must be reapplied after heavy rains. The application rate is roughly 2.5 gallons per acre of turf.
Water squirters: One of the most effective methods we have seen for protecting relatively small areas is a motion-activated sprinkler. The Scare Crow is attached to a garden hose and detects animal movement up to 35 feet away. It then sprays pulsating bursts of water for 3 seconds (2 – 3 cups of water) at the movement. It uses one 9-volt battery.
Addling: Addling goose eggs, which require a federal permit, can reduce reproductive success. Addling involves either vigorously shaking the eggs or spraying the eggs with mineral oil so the developing embryos will not survive. Destroying or removing the eggs may not be effective because the goose may lay additional eggs.
Border Collies: Although many pet dogs will harass geese and reduce their visits, trained Border Collies are particularly effective. Border Collies love to work and instinctively threaten geese. They chase them in the water and on shore. The birds can’t stand the harassment and leave. Dogs can be purchased, leased or professionally handled by a contractor. The purchase price for a trained dog is usually around $3,000. A yearly removal contract may range from $2,000 to $12,000 for large lakes.We have found repellents, scare devices and physical barriers can be effective for portions of the shoreline, however, not as effective in eliminating geese from the lake completely. Swans and Border Collies seem to be most effective for entire lake control. Nevertheless, several methods of harassment used diligently will reduce the desirability of your property to geese. You may want to start with the less expensive methods and step up when necessary. Contact us for more information, suggestions or to order any of the products. We also do installation.