The Greatest Act of Kindness and the Simplest Goose Deterrent

Feeding geese will only attract more geese, and more droppings. But it is hard to argue when people enjoy feeding birds, especially the Canada goose. Many organizations like the Humane Society and the Audubon Society promote proper feeding of beloved backyard songbirds. People who love watching geese and ducks at local ponds might think they are being kind by dropping off food for the resident waterfowl.

Feeding bread to waterfowl is NOT kind to the Canada goose or to your neighborhood.

Angel-wing

Photo by Catharine Beazley

Bread and similar leftovers (crackers, pastries, popcorn) are easy for people to grab for a quick trip to the park, but are very hard on the geese. In fact, a diet composed of white bread can cause a bone disorder known as “angel wing” in young birds. One or both wrist joints fail to develop properly, and the affected wings will not lie flat against a bird’s body. The disorder is also known as “airplane wing.” Waterfowl with this condition cannot fly.

Animal lover and Ohio Geese Control dog handler Brianna C. often sees geese with this condition at client properties in Toledo. ”We care about the well-being of all waterfowl because we are a humane service. It’s painful to watch sometimes when people are throwing bread for the geese. They gobble it down and it’s not good for them.”

Feeding wild canada geese leads to other environmental problems. Canada geese, like all waterfowl, depend on an extremely diverse diet to meet their nutritional needs. They browse in varied environments and nibble at grass, insects, larvae, small mollusks, and aquatic plants. Regular feeding by well-meaning visitors causes geese to congregate and then defecate in the same place where they eat, allowing diseases to spread and affecting water quality.

So if you know someone who’s feeding waterfowl with bread or crackers or other leftovers, see if you can convince them to stop. That’s a true act of kindness.

If geese are preventing you from enjoying the outdoors, let us know and we will kindly offer to help out. And be sure to read about our “No Harm, No Fowl” policy.

Ohio Geese Control Celebrates 10-Year Milestone

Since 2004, we have been helping create a healthier and happier environment across Cleveland, Akron/Canton, Toledo and Sandusky by humanely managing the Canada geese population. Our skilled handlers and specially trained border collies engage in a herd and flight-provoking process as recommended by the Human Society of the United States. The result? Unharmed geese, public grounds that are free of droppings and satisfied customers.

videoJeff Hower started managing geese populations in 2000. With 10+ years of golf course management under his belt, he saw a desperate need in an untapped market. One goose produces 1-2 pounds of droppings a day and some properties can attract in upwards of 100 birds at a time. The droppings can pose a health risk and alter the established ecology of the grounds.

Ohio Geese Control posts a high success rate for its services, a main reason we have been able to thrive in a tough economy is because of how the business is built from the ground up. “Our philosophies stem from our love and respect of nature,” notes Jeff Hower. “By laying out a set of core values, we are able to attract the right kind of talent and retain employees who really value their work and our mission. That’s what we are truly celebrating with this 10-year anniversary.”

Find out more about how to get rid of canada geese on your property by watching our video or contacting them for a goose chasing border collie demonstration.

How do you get rid of geese?

Play YouTube Ohio Geese Control Video

Ohio Geese Control gets rid of Canada geese with geese deterrents. Successful and cost-effective management of Canada goose activities often depends on identifying the site characteristics most attractive to the geese (e.g., security, food, nesting sites, water). Ohio Geese Control will then design a custom management program based on the potential for reducing these characteristics. Ohio Geese Control strives for an ecological approach to Canada geese management. Choosing techniques while ignoring the biological or behavioral aspects of goose activity will likely not solve the problem.

Our skilled handlers and dogs can be seen working at airports, corporate facilities, parks, home owners associations, apartments, golf courses, universities and hospitals. Currently, we are located in Toledo, Sandusky, Akron, Canton and Cleveland.

icon5Watch our video on how Ohio Geese Control works with companies to keep geese away.

Call us at 877-91GEESE (877-914-3373) for a free demonstration.

Our Service Area is Growing

OhioCounty

Ohio Geese Control proudly helps office parks, airports, hospitals, universities, homes owners associations and corporate facilities control those pesky Canada geese problems. We have routes in Toledo, Sandusky, Cleveland, Akron and Canton. And we will soon be seen in the Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati areas.

Just look for our marked cars and certified goose control staff around your neighborhood. And if you don’t currently see us there, but would like to have us remove the geese from your property, request a free demo.

Ohio Geese Control’s mission is to create a healthier and happier environment by humanely managing migratory bird populations. We want you to enjoy your outdoors.

When working with us, you have the peace of mind in knowing that we are reputable, highly trained professionals you can rely on to design a custom geese management program guaranteed to deliver results in a timely and professional manner.

Call us for a free demonstration at 1-877-914-3373

Ohio Geese Control’s No Harm, No Fowl Policy

Ohio Geese Control can help you control your Canada geese population in a safe, humane and highly affective manner. Geese are probably the most adaptable and tolerant of all native waterfowl. As their populations have increased, and man has encroached on their natural habitat, a conflict between man and geese was certainly inevitable.

Canada geese will readily establish nesting territories on any suitable pond, located on a golf course, apartment complex or commercial property. Most people will welcome the first pair of geese. However, in a short time a pair of geese can easily become 50 birds, which causes aggravation as they foul the area (1 to 2 pounds of dropping a day per bird), damage landscaping and become aggressive towards people.
It is possible to control the geese population in a natural way, which will remove the conflict between man and beast. The key to solving the problem is to make your property less attractive to Canada geese — reduce goose food and increase the birds’ wariness of potential danger.

 

Limit the amount of food sources.

  • Stop feeding the geese
  • Let grass grow taller (at least 6 inches)
  • Keep tall grasses (at least 18 inches) around ponds

Increase wariness of predators on site.

  • Use dense tall plantings along shorelines
  • Add variety to landscaping with clumps of taller plantings
  • Locate ball fields and other grassy expanses as far from open water as possible
  • Maintain stands of trees so geese do not have easy access to water
  • Use harassment techniques such as border collies

Border collies’ wolf-like glance and natural ability to herd convinces the geese that there is a predator on site. With consistent use, geese will feel too unsafe to stay at that location.  – Jeff Hower, President, Ohio Geese Control, www.ohiogeesecontrol.com

According to The Humane Society, the most effective way to scare geese away is with trained goose-herding dogs. Herding dogs convince geese they are not safe from predators. Only trained dogs working with a handler should harass geese. Dogs should never catch or harm geese. For more information on methods of controlling Canada geese populations naturally, contact Ohio Geese Control to set up a custom geese management solution.

For more information and a free site visit for initial consultation and dog demonstration, contact us or call 1-877-914-3373. We want to create a healthier and happier environment by humanely managing migratory bird populations.

Download three step guide to get rid of geeseDownload this document to share with  your staff, employees or residents: 3 Step Guide To Get Rid of Geese

Migratory vs. Non-migratory Canada Geese

Geese walking on water? No, they are walking on the frozen pond.Resident Canada geese are non-migrating geese; you will see them on your property year-round. The geese that stay in Cleveland, Akron and Toledo areas were never taught the migration patterns, nor will they teach following generations. Over the past 10 years, their populations increase about 1-5% per year, particularly in urban areas where there are few predators, prohibitions on hunting, and a dependable year-round supply of food and water.

 

Why do they stay?

During the first half of the 20th century, migratory geese were often captured for use as live decoys, and stayed in our area year-round. By the early 1960’s, the excessive hunting brought the population of Canada geese to near extinction. To counter this near extinction, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and many State wildlife agencies began a program of re-population of wild Canada geese. They did this by taking the eggs from the nests of the surviving resident Canada geese and artificially incubated these eggs while the geese laid another clutch (double clutch). These captive geese were also bred in captivity. As a consequence, their descendants do not have the biological need to migrate, they were not taught the migration patterns. Our resident Canada geese in Ohio are the descendants of these captive migratory geese.

Also, the climate is temperate in our area and the water bodies do not freeze for long periods of time, the resident Canada geese have no need to fly south to find open water and grass in the winter. Even when it is 10 degrees Fahrenheit, as long as the geese can find open water, they stay warm. The water is 32 degrees and the geese have down on their bellies and chest, which insulates them from the cold water.

Since we have ideal conditions, and the resident geese are trained to stay in our area, the problem will only increase. If geese are becoming a nuisance on your property during the winter months, please let us know. We are happy to set up a custom program to manage your Canada geese population.

Canada geese issues in the Fall

Issues with Canada geese in parking lotsAs the weather gets colder, you will see more geese hanging out in parking lots and walkways. The sun heats up the cement and asphalt during the day, and the Canada geese enjoy this warmth, particularly at night. Some of the biggest complaints we hear come from prospects are the issues of geese droppings all over parking lots and sidewalks when employees are just coming to work.

Our staff is trained to look for signs of the geese throughout the day, even if the geese aren’t currently present. If there are excessive droppings consistently in the mornings, this is an indication that the geese like to roost there in the evenings. We never want you coming to work dodging droppings to get in the door. Just call us, and we will put you in our route.

Fall migration will begin to take place in October. It is important to understand geese migration patterns in order to know how to deter them. Ohio Geese Control’s certified goose management professionals are trained to understand the Canada goose habits, and we will develop a specific action plan to help combat the problems you are having with geese. Just contact us for a free on-site demonstration and we can give you more details.

Molting geese are unable to fly in July

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It is the molting season for Canada geese. Geese rejuvenate their flight feathers for their Fall migration beginning in mid-June throughout the month of July. Unlike other birds which will loose one feather at a time and still be able to fly, geese will loose all of their flight feathers (or molt) and not be able to fly during this stage. You will begin to see lots of feathers on your property when the molt is happening.

Ohio Geese Control has continued to do extensive harassment to keep the geese away before the molt happens. We do not work with our border collies during the molt, as the geese will be unable to fly off. Habitat modification efforts and fencing off areas will help reduce geese walking onto your property. If you are having issues, you can certainly call us and we will develop a custom plan for your property during this time.

Call us at 877-914-3373 for a free site demonstration, you will see a great decrease in the number of geese on site.

What to do when a Canada goose attacks

Canada geese become aggressive during nesting season

Aggressive Geese

The beautifully manicured lawns and wonderful water features add to the perfect landscape, but they also attract Canada geese. Geese can certainly add to this beauty, in a natural settings. But one pair can quickly become 50 birds over time, and even one pair of nesting geese can become a danger to people innocently passing by their territory.

Canada geese exhibit very strong family bonds, and often return to the place they were born to raise their own families. Female geese lay between 2 and 8 eggs, which incubate for about 28 days. During this nesting season, geese will become extremely protective and exhibit aggressive behavior.

What can you do if a geese attacks you?

  • Stare down your attacker. They will learn from your body language that you are a threat. Canada geese have excellent vision and will be able to perceive where you are looking and how you are reacting to them. Do not close or squint your eyes. Do not turn your back.
  • Slowly back away. Don’t turn your back, or stop looking at the goose. Using your peripheral vision be aware of obstacles in your pathways.
  • Do not act hostile, remain neutral in your demeanor. Do not hit, kick or swing at the goose. This will only agitate them more, and may even bring the female off her nest to support her spouse in the attack. If you remain neutral, you are less of a threat.
  • If the goose flies towards your face, duck or move away at a 90 degree angle to the direction of the flight still facing the attacking goose.

The best solution is to take precautions so that Canada geese and human interactions are limited. Read our tips on how to stop a goose attack before it happens>>

Most importantly, start a goose management program to limit the number of geese on your property. Ohio Geese Control can help develop a custom program to meet your needs. Call us at 1-877-91GEESE.

Diseases that Canada Geese Carry

The flu hit our family hard this season, and it sparked a conversation in our household about what diseases Canada geese carry and if it is a health risk to our clients. After all, they do leave large quantities of feces everywhere. A single goose can defecate every 20 minutes up to 1.5 pounds each day. And it only gets worse when about 67% of these geese are non-migratory (resident geese), and their year-long presence does not give the land or lake any rest to rejuvenate. So when I see beaches and soccer fields littered with accumulated goose droppings, I wonder if we should allow our kids to play in the area and what information we should give our clients. So we did a little research to find out the truth.

Research has shown that the excrement of geese contains a wide variety of pathogens capable of infecting humans and that can also be transferred to the water and air quality. However, the transmission of disease or parasites from geese to humans has not been well documented. The parasites do exist, so the potential exists, and the higher number of geese the higher the potential. But since there are gaps in the research, we do caution that the presence of a disease does not necessarily translate into a threat to public health.

   

 

 

 

Parasites, bacteria, viruses and fungus that are present in Canada geese 

Parasites
Parasites can cause diarrhea and infection, especially in individuals with compromised immune systems. Three parasites that are a concern to humans are cryptosporidium, giardia and toxoplasmosis.  Infection may occur through eating a goose that is undercooked or drinking contaminated water. Caution should be observed when swimming in any lake, pond or beach area that has a presence of geese.

Bacteria
The bacteria transferred from Canada geese that cause humans concern are chlamydiosis, e-coli, listeria, pasteurella multocida and salmonella. Infected birds can shed the bacteria through feces, nasal discharge and when someone is bitten. Humans normally manifest infection by pneumonia or through a wound.  The presence of e-coli correlates to the temperature, so there is a higher probability of e-coli presence during the month of June rather than February. Unless you are working around Canada geese or involved in feces clean up, the risk of infection can be low.

Viruses
Canada geese are members of a group of birds that have been known to contract avian influenza. In 2004, researchers confirmed that Canada geese could contract H5N1, and it is an on-going concern that geese can introduce the disease.  There is on-going research to help validate these concerns.

Fungus
Lastly, histoplasmosis fungus grows in soil enriched with bird droppings, including those from geese. When these contaminated soils are stirred up, the fungal spores can become dispersed and inhaled, thereby infecting individuals. Goose droppings have not been identified as a source for histoplasmosis, however, in light of the conflicting information, we suggest people practice caution when raking, mowing or stirring up soil enriched with goose droppings. It does not appear that goose droppings on sidewalks and other non-soil surfaces pose a risk.

How to proactively protect yourself from diseases that Canada geese carry

As a general rule, keeping a distance from geese and areas frequented by geese will always be the first line of defense in combating any diseases that geese can carry. Individuals with compromised immune systems should be extra cautious.

We suggest the following safety guidelines:

  • Wear protective gloves while working with feces or geese
  • Wash hands after working outdoors around geese
  • Launder work clothes
  • Shower after a day of working outdoors around geese
  • We wash our dogs paws daily at the end of every working day
  • We suggest washing bottoms of shoes at the end of every working day

Recommended Canada Geese Control Tactics

The best way to combat coming in contact with diseases carried by Canada geese is to proactively keep the geese away from areas that are used by people.  The first action is always to stop the public from feeding the geese. Secondly, the most effective, safe and humane tactic is by far the use of border collies. Find out more tactics here, or call Ohio Geese Control (877-91GEESE) for a free on-site demonstration and consultation on what you can be doing to lower your Canada geese population.

On-going Research Needed

Research has been proven that geese and their feces do carry diseases that are capable of infecting humans. But we must emphasize that the research is ongoing, and there are very few documented cases of the transmission of the diseases to humans. Nevertheless, the potential does exist, so we would urge you to practice safety measures when coming into contact with a high number of geese on your property. And check back with our blog as we provide updates.