Goose Control Program
In the last 50 years, populations have gone from being considered migratory to residential nesting birds. It is important to stress that the nesting birds targeted in this program are not native to the region. These are hybrid offspring of several different subspecies of Canada Geese that were introduced in the 1960’s and 70’s. Canada geese from elsewhere in Canada and the US were translocated here as part of managed introduction programs.
These Geese are very adaptable to urban settings and do well in habitats intended for human use such as parks, beaches, sports fields and golf courses. The short grass at these sites is a great source for foraging and provides quick access to water for escape if necessary.
The geese population has been steadily growing with few natural controls and is having a negative impact on the natural environment, recreational opportunities for residents. The unnaturally high populations of Canada geese in the region can have a negative impact on the natural environment as Canada geese push out other waterfowl species such as ducks.
Egg addling is a supported humane technique that involves shaking eggs or coating them with a non-toxic biodegradable food-grade corn oil within 14 days of incubation to make them non-viable. Eggs are then returned to the nest. Adult geese are not harmed and continue with their regular life cycle. A federal permit is required to allow trained crews to addle goose eggs on public and private lands with owners’ permission.
Adult geese are very powerful animals which can become aggressive towards humans, domestic pets and even other waterfowl if there is a perceived threat. This aggression increases during nesting season and when populations begin to grow too large for a given area.
Fecal contamination from geese is a concern at public parks and beaches due to increased levels of fecal coliform, E. coli, and Salmonella and Campylobacter.
Increasing concerns for public health, the local economy and the natural environment have prompted the development of a management program to control the issue. The public is asked to keep away from goose nests and to avoid touching the eggs.
The key to the success of the program is finding new nests. The public is asked to report lone geese, pairs of geese or nest locations on private or public land at email@example.com or at 604-943-3209.
For more information, contact Kate Hagmeier, Senior Biologist firstname.lastname@example.org
Canada Geese: Control and Management in Southwestern BC