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Guide Offers Solutions To Urban/Suburban Goose Problems

Feeling knee-deep in goose doo-doo?

If you”re a parks manager, waterfront property owner or golf-course superintendent, you may be dealing with one of the drawbacks of the Canada goose success story – resident, nonmigratory geese. As Canada goose numbers have soared in recent years, so have complaints about urban goose problems – primarily goose droppings, overgrazing and trampling of vegetation, and aggressive behavior toward humans.

Managing Canada Geese in Urban Environments is a 42-page guide to legal, effective ways of persuading problem geese to go elsewhere.

The guide includes an overview of goose biology and behavior, but most of the text is devoted to management and control techniques, arranged by their physical impact on the geese. The techniques range from basic (quit feeding the birds) to extensive – habitat modification, hazing and scaring techniques, chemical repellents, control of reproduction, and removal.

For example, the habitat section reviews fences and overhead wires and grids, plant and rock barriers, and modification of vegetation, shorelines, islands and ponds. The hazing discussion covers noisemakers such as fireworks and propane cannons, goose scarecrows and other visual scare techniques, and dogs trained to patrol for geese.

Tables provide a quick summary of timing, cost, necessary permits, strengths and weaknesses of each technique. The guide also discusses the human and political dimensions of urban goose management, and how to develop an integrated management strategy. It lists on-line information sources, as well as contact information for equipment suppliers and wildlife control agencies.

“Urban Canada goose populations have increased dramatically in both numbers and distribution over the past 10 to 15 years. Almost any body of water, especially in southeast Wisconsin, can expect geese, if they aren”t there already,” says co-author Scott Craven, extension wildlife ecologist at UW-Madison”s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. “Small numbers of geese are attractive and highly desirable, but it”s very easy to quickly experience too much of a good thing. Information on living with geese has not been readily available, and some ”solutions” may have little chance of actual success. The guide provides would-be goose managers with the information they need to address a very complex urban wildlife problem.”

Managing Canada Geese in Urban Environments, order #1471B243, costs $10 and is available from Cornell University Media and Technology Services Resource Center, 7 Cornell Business and Technology Park, Ithaca, NY 14850, (607) 255-2090. Users might also consider the companion video, Suburban Goose Management: Searching for Balance, order # 147VSGM, $24.95.

Co-authors are Arthur E. Smith, a research intern at UW-Madison”s Department of Wildlife Ecology, and Paul D. Curtis, extension wildlife specialist at Cornell University. The publication is a joint effort by Cornell Cooperative Extension, the University of Wisconsin, and the Berryman Institute, Utah State University.