How To Control Goose Nesting
Geese usually return in spring (late March) to the area where they hatched or where they nested previously. Over time, this results in increasing numbers of geese in areas that once had just a few birds.
Local population growth may be controlled by preventing geese from nesting successfully. Although it is difficult to eliminate nesting habitat, harassment in early spring may prevent geese from nesting on a particular site. However, they may still nest nearby where they are not subject to harassment.
If nest prevention fails, treating the eggs to prevent hatching is an option. This can be done by puncturing, shaking, freezing or applying corn oil to all of the eggs in a nest. The female goose will continue incubating the eggs until the nesting season is over. If the nest is simply destroyed, or the eggs removed, the female may re-nest and lay new eggs.
Egg treatment helps in several ways. First, it directly reduces the number of geese that will be present on a site later in the year. Second, geese without young will be more easily repelled from a site after the nesting season.
Finally, if conducted on a large enough scale (throughout a town), it can help slow the growth of a local goose population, and over time lead to stable or declining numbers. Egg treatment may be necessary for 5-10 years before effects on goose numbers are evident.
One fertility control chemical (nicarbizin; *OvoControlTM) has been approved by US-EPA. This material requires repeated feeding of nesting geese during the egg-laying period. Additional field trials and applications are needed to determine the utility of this product.
For almost every method that has been tried to alleviate problems caused by geese, there has been success and failure. However, some methods were not recommended in this guide for various reasons.
These include: use of swans (real ones create other problems; fake ones don’t work); bird distress calls (effective for some bird species, but not proven for geese); scarecrows or dead goose decoys (ineffective for resident geese); use of trained birds of prey to chase geese (labor-intensive, generally not available); sterilization (very labor-intensive for surgery); fountains or aerators in ponds (not effective, may even attract geese); introduction of predators (already present where habitat is suitable, but none take only geese); disease (impossible to control and protect other animals); and use of poisons (illegal).
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