Canada Goose Nuisance Problems

Canada Goose
Fact Sheet

Photo of Canada Goose with Neck-Collar

Management of Nuisance Problems: The local resident goose population has had a different impact on the public's perception of these birds. Too many geese on public parks, ballfields, beaches, golf courses, and residential lawns can create nuisance problems and occasionally public health problems. Geese can litter an area with their droppings. Large flocks of geese can overfertilize water bodies with their droppings which could result in algae blooms. Geese can cause economic damage when feeding on newly planted farm crops, winter cover crops, and pasture areas. Such nuisance problems can cause the public's attitude toward geese to change from regarding them as an asset to a liability.

There are no easy solutions to nuisance goose problems. Canada geese are persistent when they have become habituated to an area. Control methods include modifying the habitat, putting up barriers, and frightening.

Modifying the Habitat: As long as favorable habitat is available, geese will be attracted to an area. Plant unpalatable vegetation, such as pachysandra, to replace some of the mowed lawn. Allow grass to grow tall which makes it unpalatable to the geese. Plant hedges or visual barriers between feeding areas and water. Be sure the geese are not being fed artificially by people.

Barriers and Exclusion Methods: Low fences are very effective at keeping geese from lawns especially during June and July when geese have molted their flight feathers and are unable to fly. A 3-foot high chicken wire or weld wire fence should be used. Soft or hard nylon fences are also potential barriers.

Frightening Methods: These methods are convenient and relatively inexpensive. However, geese can become accustomed to repetitious methods especially when they realize that it poses no danger. Frightening programs should be planned early to prevent the birds from establishing a daily feeding pattern. Efforts should be directed at sunrise and sunset when geese come in to feed. Do not allow even one goose to remain as a decoy. Be persistent because it will take several days to break habitual feeding patterns.

  1. Bird control pyrotechnics such as shell crackers (12 gauge shotgun) and whistler/screamer rockets fired over the flock travel up to 250 feet and will frighten geese away.
  2. Visual frightening methods such as helium balloons (mylar, rubber), flags, and scarecrows are most effective when used in conjunction with other methods. Large helium balloons tethered with 20-40 feet of line can be placed over lawns or ponds. Geese do not like objects moving above their heads. Flash tape, a one-half inch mylar plastic, strung like a string fence at one and two feet above the ground will act as a frightening barrier.
  3. Free-ranging dogs trained to chase geese are very effective. Even tethered, or slip-wired tethered dogs that permit extensive movement, have merit.