Controlling Geese

GEESE! Please…… Don’t feed the Canada Geese or ducks and please discourage them to come ashore to feed on your green lawns. What they leave behind is not a gift wrapped present for you. In addition to being unsightly and slippery, it also becomes fertilizer which then migrates into the lake water and feeds algae and aquatic plant growth. One pound of droppings can produce up to a ton of algae. In high enough concentrations, their fecal bacteria can be harmful to humans and pets.

WHAT TO DO….… The most cost effective way to repel all those water fowl from your lakeshore property is with scare tactics. Not meaning that you come out of your home screaming and flapping your arms, although that will work, it might cause your neighbors some reluctance in wanting to chat with you. Goosebusters company suggests using scare devices consistently as soon as geese arrive on your property. There are many commercial companies that sell scare devices such as shell crackers, screamers, bird alarms, motion detector accessories, electronic noise systems, bird bangers, rockets, and distress cries. There are also visual stimuli techniques used to scare geese such as bird blinders, bird scare balloons, plastic flags, and mylar scare tape and silhouette coyote. An internet search will provide you with retail outlets for these products as well as Amazon. Stringing the water’s edges prevents most geese from easily walking in and out of water and is most effective when baby geese are present, (May, June and July).

Changing shoreline habitat can be helpful by planting wildflowers and bushes as waterfowl are worried about predators that might be hiding in and around them. Geese prefer wide open spaces with a clear view to easily watch for predators. In a group of feeding geese there are several “lookouts” while the others are eating. You will most likely not see geese feeding on a forested shore. Using a combination of several different repelling methods and changing tactics to prevent geese from becoming conditioned to any one of them often has the best results. If you use silhouette coyote’s it’s important to occasionally change their location. A deluxe scare tactic can be found at  claiming “Less mess, more weekend”, although it might scare away the grandchildren as well. Another company is      Hazing is an effective method using your trained dog to chase geese into the water. When the geese don’t have access to your lush green lawn they will move elsewhere. With enough harassment they’ll find another lake.

We have investigated physically rounding up Canada Geese and removing them as well as nest destruction. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources states that: Round up of geese is not an effective long-term solution for addressing Canada goose conflicts and has had limited success in reducing the number of goose complaints. Round up provides only short-term resolution of human-goose conflicts because adult geese instinctively return to previous breeding sites. It does provide property owners temporary relief, but the same or different birds move back into the area within a short time. Unless the attractive shore habitat is modified, geese will return. Relocating geese is not a long-term solution. Part of the reason for geese population increases is due to human modification of natural shoreline habitat by removing trees, shrubs and creating manicured turf.

Michigan DNR requires a permit ($200.00) and at least 70% of the Association property owners signatures giving permission to allow a goose round up which will allow destruction of nests and eggs on your properties, or roundup and capture and removal of geese from our lake. This would have to be done for multiple years as new geese families find their vacation lake to spend the summer. Goose Busters is a commercial company that manages roundups.   Their cost is $350.00 for 1-25 geese. $500.00 for 26-50 geese. $500.00 for 51-75 geese. There are additional costs for nest destruction. Up to 80 % of those rounded up will return to the lake. Aside from the ongoing costs involved with a roundup, a drawback is that there are six other lakes in close proximity and the waterfowl regularly visit all of the lakes. We might roundup twenty, but the next day there could be just as many visiting from a neighboring lake.

Having a vegetated shoreline and using some of the aforementioned tactics keeps most geese away. We are currently experimenting with an inexpensive product called “Bird Blinders”, a scare tactic, on two lakeshore properties and the island. A package of six are $11.00 (Amazon). They move in the breeze and reflect light.

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