Getting Rid of the Geese Problem

Don't step on the poop

Mike Baggerman
May 23, 2018 - 3:00 am

Goose Poop in Amherst (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - Number two is often the number one problem for any park visitors during the spring and summer months. 

Poop from (mostly) Canada Geese are tough to avoid at any public parks. 

"We have staff on board that their job is to hose it down at (places like) boat ramps and around the park areas," City of North Tonawanda Director of Youth, Recreation, and Parks, Patricia Brosius, said. "They sweep it. We have a lot of seasonable people that do that and they're not on board yet because they're in school. There's just so many birds around."

The City of North Tonawanda hired companies that bring in border collies and fishing lines to prevent the geese from coming in. Brosius said that the City of North Tonawanda estimated that as many as 1,000 geese plagued the golf course in one past season. 

"A lot of times these birds, they're just insistent on coming in," she said. "Landing wherever they want to."

Canada geese are a protected species. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation said they're a valuable natural resource that provides recreation and enjoyment to bird watchers, hunters, and the general public. It is illegal to hunt, kill, sell, purchase, or possess migratory birds or their parts except as permitted by regulations from the DEC and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 

DEC biologists concluded that an acceptable number of resident geese in New York is at or below 85,000 birds. However, they estimate the current population estimate at more than 200,000. The DEC emphasized there are absolutely no plans to capture, euthanize, and bury 170,000 resident geese to achieve the statewide population goal of 85,000 birds. Their plan is to, instead, legally hunt the geese, which they said estimates harvests between 50,000 and 100,000 annually. 

"Canada geese are managed or controlled by legalized hunting in three different seasons in New York State," State DEC and Buffalo Office Senior Wildlife Biologist Connie Adams said. "There's a pre-migratory season for the month of September when, actually, 15 per day can be taken by waterfowl hunters. There's a 70-day waterfowl season in late-fall and early-winter and in early-spring there's a short, 12-day season where waterfowl can be taken."

Additional management of the Canada geese population for local residents would allow individuals to oil eggs in a nest.

"If they find a nest they can apply for an online permit from the Fish and Wildlife Service where they can apply Crisco oil and a spray to the nest," Adams added. "That way they'll remain with two Canada geese and won't have the eight or ten goslings that hatch out of the nest." 

Permits are required to hunt geese. 

In addition to viewing geese for pleasure, Adams said they serve a practical purpose for wildlife education, bonding between hunters, and food. 

Additional information on Canada Geese can be found on the NYS DEC website and the US Fish and Wildlife Service website

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