Animal Alliance has worked with many organizations and government officials to develop a humane, non-lethal approach to human-geese conflicts.
Most urban conflicts occur from June to mid July when the birds are flightless and at their maximum numbers. They congregate in large numbers in municipal parks, around storm water management ponds and along urban shorelines and come in conflict with residents using the facilities for recreational purposes. Residents complain of goose feces and grass damage.
Animal Alliance has developed a Habitat Modification & Canada Geese manual. The purpose of this manual is to provide parks and wildlife personnel, government officials, as well as advocates of wildlife preservation and restoration ecology with information relating to the habitat needs and deterrents of Canada Geese in urban environments. Habitat modification as a means of reducing human-goose conflicts works on a site specific basis. It offers a choice between eliminating the use of the site by geese
altogether or accommodating the geese in such a way as to reduce or eliminate conflict.
Habitat modification through natural landscaping techniques offers both an ecological and humane means of reducing human-goose conflicts in urban, suburban and even agricultural environments.
Most rural conflicts occur in the spring, when the early wheat begins to grow, and the late summer and early fall, when crops mature and are ready for harvesting. Farmers complain of crop damage. For example, the economic impact on Ontario agriculture of all wildlife is estimated at $41,000,000 (Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association, www.ontariosoilcrop.org). Therefore the average damage per farm in Ontario (close to 60,000 farms) is $683.00. Damage to wheat, the main crop attractive to geese, other migratory birds and wildlife was estimated at $979,171.
The Canadian Wildlife Service’s brochure titled Canada Geese and Farms suggest habitat modification as a mitigation measure. The brochure suggests that the farmer “focus efforts on the area between cultivated land and ponds or other wetlands. Create natural barriers of trees, brush and shrubs around ponds, wetlands and streams. If you have a pond, avoid creating islands or peninsulas which are ideal nesting sites for geese.”
Organizations, such as GeesePeace, have formed to provide resolution measures where geese and people are in conflict. GeesePeace is dedicated to building better communities though innovative, effective, and humane solutions to wildlife conflicts.
The Habitat Modification & Canada Geese manual is available to all interested parties (for manual appendices, click here). We feel this is of particular interest to municipalities dealing with human-goose conflicts in their area. The manual features numerous case studies in locations in USA and Canada that have implemented habitat modification practices.