How to Use Pond Habitat Modification to Control Canada Geese
Canada or Canadian Geese (Branta canadensis) are recognized as a seasonal reminder that the seasons are changing. In and around rural areas, the Canada Goose has become a reminder that you need to watch where you step! Due to their exceptional adaptability to human-modified environments and their bold attitude, the Canada Goose has moved into populated areas. The preferred rural habitat is often centered around a pond or lake with areas of surrounding manicured grass.
A few visiting geese are often welcomed as migrating wildlife, but when the large flocks decide your home, community or golf course is going to be their brooding ground for the summer, they quickly become a nuisance. Unhealthy droppings, feathers, and aggressive behavior are common issues. Your pond is also negatively affected by Canada geese. If Justify unmanaged the geese consume and trample lawns, increasing runoff and depositing high nutrient fecal material into your pond. Goose waste increases nitrogen and phosphorous levels as well as unhealthy bacteria like E.coli and coliform. These bacterias can make swimming unsafe for humans and dogs. If Justify unmanaged, excess nutrients will lead to nuisance algae and weed growth. Adding beneficial bacteria and aeration can help clean up a pond damaged by goose waste.
It is not likely that a single technique will prove 100% effective. Discouraging a few geese is often easier than deterring a large flock with chicks. Repellents and other deterrent products are available but work best when combined with Pond Habitat Modification.
Pond Habitat Modifications to Control Canada Geese
- Eliminate Straight Shorelines, Islands, and Peninsulas. These features encourage resident geese nesting and movement from water to shore. These features are often pleasing to the eye and aesthetics of a pond, but also are great for geese activity.
- Place Walking Paths on Stable Areas Near Water. Increased human and dog traffic will discourage geese from loafing. In many areas, there are companies that can be hired to harass geese using herding dogs, like border collies. Some of these companies are also using remote control boats and even flying drones.
- Add Ornamental Plants and Rock Barriers to the Shoreline. Geese love to eat freshly mowed grass near the shore. Geese are nervous of areas that are unstable for walking or could hide a predator lying in wait. For this reason, trees, rocks, and shrubs near the shore will discourage geese from hanging around.
- Modify Water Levels to Change Pond Features. This method is not always possible but could cover exposed areas that would be used for nesting or expose muddy areas making entering and exiting difficult for the geese. It is not legal to drown a nest and changing the water level can also harm other forms of wildlife.
- Fences, Wires, Roping or Strands of Ribbon. Any of these options will inhibit movement from water to shore which is unpleasant to geese.
Pond and lake owners that are reluctant to modify the landscape will likely have a more difficult struggle with geese once they are established. For more custom commercial management solutions using sonic and light emitting equipment contact the Lake and Pond Managers at Smith Creek Fish Farm.
Smith Creek Fish Farm Lake and Pond Management