2017-03-15 / Community

Living with Canada geese during nesting season

If Canada geese have become a problem on your property, helpful information is available through the Indiana Department of Natural Resources website.

Most goose problems occur from March through June, during nesting season. That is when geese are especially aggressive, sometimes attacking and nipping at people to protect their nest or nesting mate.

Geese also can cause localized damage if many young are hatched in one area. After hatching, goslings cannot fly for about 70 days, so the young birds and their parents will graze near the hatching area for that time. Damage to landscaping can be significant, and large amounts of excrement can render areas unfit for human use.

Geese will use land near any waterbody, especially land with short, well-groomed turf grass planted to the water’s edge. Small retention ponds often fit the bill and become a hot spot for geese. Some people regard geese as an annoyance without recognizing that humans unintentionally encourage the birds’ undesirable behavior with such landscaping.

Planting native wildflowers and prairie grasses around a pond can help resolve such conflicts. Other solutions include goose annoyance techniques. Those techniques include using noisemaking devices, using herding dogs used to chase off the birds, supporting goose hunting, and obtaining a DNR relocation or euthanasia goose permit. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) also allows landowners who are properly registered to destroy resident Canada goose eggs and nests on their property.

More information on registering for federal permission to destroy eggs and nests is at epermits.fws.gov/ercgr/gesi.asp x. It is against federal law to destroy a Canada goose nest that contains one or more eggs without first securing permission through the USFWS.

“It’s best to use preventive measures such as habitat modification or harassment before geese become a nuisance,” said Megan Dillon, urban wildlife biologist with the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife.

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