Q: I live in a neighborhood with two small lakes. One lake, in particular, has been the home to Canada geese since the inception of our community. The geese are fun to feed, lovely to look at, but they have been multiplying rapidly. This year, our neighborhood spent close to $700 to have the geese relocated. (This was legally done during molting season by the Dept. of Agriculture). Is there a way to deter geese from making our lakes a permanent residence year after year?
A: Urban geese are particularly tough to control. They reproduce quickly, are difficult to repel and they love the green lawns next to ponds and lakes. As you’ve found, goose droppings in heavy concentrations can over-fertilize lawns, contribute to excessive algae growth in
lakes and make walking on streets and paths hazardous. Visual repellents such as strobe lights, balloons and flagging are not effective.
Several strategies have had success though. Adopting these will give everyone around the lakes something to do. Geese hate not seeing a clear entrance and exit from their grazing area. Plant two foot tall hedges of water-tolerant plants near the lake edge so they can’t see the lawns on the other side. Since they prefer to eat lush lawn grass, consider converting lakeside areas to wildflower meadows, Japanese gardens, etc.
Some dogs enjoy harassing geese, so let them do it all they like. Border collie dogs are particularly good at chasing geese and making them feel unwelcome.
A taste repellant called ReJexIt is available from Becker-Underwood. Their fogging technology seems like a good system to investigate.
For local advice, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources has an excellent publication on geese control. Call 478-825-6354 to request a copy of “Nuisance Goose Control” or to get information on goose trapping and removal.
Harassing the birds with lasers has been found effective.
Flashing lights might also work.