Canada Geese New Jersey






There is only one explanation for a failed non-lethal goose abatement program. The program was ill-designed and not carried out in all sincerity with humane intentions.




In reality, there are not too many geese. They simply visit areas some people deem inconvenient – areas where humans have manipulated natural landscapes. The establishment of lush green lawns, manicured parks, recreational facilities, corporate parks, golf courses, agricultural lands and man-made bodies of water act as welcome mats. However, the establishment of unnatural landscapes is not the sole cause of the human/goose conflicts communities are experiencing today. Equal responsibility rests at the feet of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, whose restoration programs led to the establishment of “resident” goose populations in States where no resident geese had bred before, including New Jersey.


Although the non-lethal goose abatement techniques, below, have proven successful, they do not address the aforementioned fundamental root causes of the conflicts. It is not in our best interest or that of the geese, indeed all wildlife, to abandon responsible stewardship of the land and ignore the mis-magement practices of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.   




The best time to act is late winter, before nesting begins in March or as soon as the

geese arrive.


There are many successful, non-lethal ways to discourage Canada geese from settling

 in your area. Persistent application of a combination of non-lethal methods is usually necessary to yield the best results. Don’t rule out any non-lethal technique that might be feasible.


 It is permissible to harass Canada geese without a federal permit as long as the geese

 are not touched or harmed in any way. Any person causing injury or death to a goose

 while engaged in dispersement activities will be subject to a fine for having violated the

 Migratory Bird Treaty Act.


  Landowners wishing to exclude Canada geese from their property should check local

  ordinances for codes or restrictions that may apply to certain hazing techniques,

  including but not limited to possession and discharge of a bird launch gun, the

  use of pyrotechnics and dog leash laws.


No-Feeding Waterfowl Ordinance - Many people enjoy feeding the geese but  

        feeding can cause large numbers of geese to congregate where others don’t 

        appreciate the birds’ presence. Once feeding is discontinued, geese will disperse

        and revert to their natural foods.


       Feeding waterfowl on public property should be prohibited. A No-Feeding  

       Waterfowl Ordinance must be enforced to be effective and may require a penalty  

        sufficient to deter the activity. Signs should be erected, stating the ordinance number

        and dollar amount of fine.


  Habitat Modification – Canada geese require upland and aquatic habitats

         for resting, feeding and breeding. Habitat modifications make an area less

         suitable to geese and limits the number that can exist there.


        Geese graze on grass. Frequently mowed and fertilized grass is an excellent food

         (proteins and carbohydrates) for geese. Canada geese are reluctant to walk through

         tall vegetation. To make grass areas less attractive: (1) Limit lawn size; let grass

         grow 10 inches to 14 inches in height, especially along shorelines. (2) Plant species

         which are less palatable to geese, such as tall fescue or ground covers like

         periwinkle, euonymus, Japanese pachysandra and English ivy. Also, dense-growing

         plants, which can hide predators, making grazing and nesting areas less attractive.


        During landscaping, do not create small islands or peninsulas in ponds. Where these

        features already exist, consider changes to make the areas unavailable to the geese.




Fencing: Artificial/Natural - Geese prefer to land on water and walk up onto

        adjacent grassy areas to feed and rest. Perhaps the most effective tools for

        controlling goose movement, especially during the summer flightless period, are

        fences, hedge rows, and other physical barriers. All fences should completely

        enclose the site, with no breaks for geese to sneak through. To be effective, fences

        should be at least 30 inches tall. A fence-like barrier may also be created by planting

        hedges of boxwood or privet.


Border Collies - Due to their herding abilities, Border collies, which are trained

        to chase but not harm, have been extremely effective in dispersing geese from   

        golf courses, parks, athletic fields and corporate properties. Except where permitted,

        compliance with local leash laws or park regulations is still required. Initially,

        hazing must be done several times per day for several weeks, after which less

        frequent but regular patrols will be needed. Geese will not become acclimated to

        the threat of being hazed by dogs they perceive as predators.


        For moral and ethical reasons, dogs should not be used when geese are nesting or

        unable to fly during molting and brood raising seasons, generally April thru August.


         An analysis of the efficacy of a Border collie program implemented in 1990 to

         control nuisance Canada geese at the Dow Jones Company corporate complex in

         New Jersey determined the Border collie program successfully eliminated Canada

         geese and the problems associated with their presence. The Border collie program

         was effective in addressing overabundance of Canada geese at DJC. (Wildlife

         Society Bulletin, Vol. 28, No. 2 (Summer, 2000)       


Egg Addling - Inhibits embryo growth and prevents eggs from hatching. Viewed by

        some as a lethal form of goose control and by others, non-lethal, this practice is a

        personal choice.


        Anyone wishing to addle Canada goose eggs MUST REGISTER

        before taking action. If registering online is not possible, then a federal permit

        MUST be obtained from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Anyone addling

        eggs without permission is subject to a fine under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.




   Other Non-lethal Control Techniques: With the exception of a Border collie, no

          one harassment technique works well alone but used in combination, success can

          be realized.


·         Bird Scaring Reflective Tape (Mylar)

·         Flagging and Balloons

·         Remote Control Boats

·         Pyrotechnics - Shell crackers – Bird bangers – Dissuader guns

      (Check ordinances for codes and restrictions- permit may be required)  

·         Life-like coyote statues

·         Scare windmill

·         Sonic bird repeller

·         Flashing beacon – Away With Geese

(Designed to disrupt the sleep of geese roosting on water at night.)




Resolving Canada Goose Conflicts

Massachusetts SPCA




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