They eat a lot and cause a mess. They overstay their welcome and can become aggressive when challenged. No, they’re not your no-account relatives—they’re resident Canada geese.
These 12- to 15-pound birds were once migratory animals, but many began to lose that instinct when they were employed as live decoys by hunters in the early part of the last century. Live decoys were outlawed by the 1930s, and the captive geese were turned loose. Well-meaning conservation efforts to re-introduce the geese into areas they had once abandoned also were a bit more successful than originally intended. Once freed or reintroduced, many geese decided that migration was perhaps too much of a hassle, and decided to stick around—multiplying exponentially ever since.
These resident geese can now be found eating loads of cultivated grass, loitering around co-ops and condos on golf courses, parkland, and other green areas, leaving their droppings and feathers everywhere. And it’s more than just a landscaping or picnicking nuisance—if a flock is large enough, it can even contaminate water supplies—or bring down a commercial aircraft!
Like homeowners weary of guests who, stay too long, condos are looking for ways to move the geese off their property. But, like with removing guests, condos face an uphill battle because amenities that geese like include landscaped ponds (great for swimming and protection from predators) and short, manicured lawns (great for grazing). Because there is so much for geese to like at condos and co-ops, it often takes a mix of lethal and non-lethal approaches to move them off the property, says Kim Gurlavich, a wildlife specialist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Wildlife Services Program in New Jersey.
“The more angles you approach it at the better off you are, because there’s not one quick fix,” she says. Approaches listed by Gurlavich include making the condo less hospitable, harassing the geese, limiting their reproduction and, finally, euthanizing the animals.