About Jeff Hower

I am the owner of Ohio Geese Control. I first started using border collies to get rid of geese as a golf course superintendent. It worked so well, that I made a business out of it. It is safe, humane and effective - the geese are never harmed. If you want more information on how to control your Canada geese populations, email me, questions[at]ohiogeesecontrol.com

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.

Canada Geese Fall Migration in Ohio

Canada geese migration patterns

Click to view video of Ohio Geese Control’s service results >>

Canada Geese are known for their seasonal migrations. Each fall hundreds of thousands of Canada geese pass through Ohio in their famous v-formations, honking up a storm. When you look at a large flock of Canada geese, they all look pretty much alike. However, in North America there are at least 7 different groups of this species, each having a different breeding and wintereing area and they travel different migration routes. Due in part to the interbreeding of various migratory subspecies with the introduced non-migratory Giant subspecies, Canada Geese are frequently a year-around feature at many urban environments as well.

Peak migrations happen in Ohio between October and November. Flocks of geese fly in a v-shaped group and some will travel non-stop for up to 16 hours to cover over 800 miles. Flocks will also make shorter flights depending on wind patterns and where food is available. During migration, geese can travel as fast as 70 miles per hour with a good tail wind at an altitude of up to 9,000 feet. Geese, like most of our migratory birds, will also migrate during the night. Ohio Geese Control understands the patterns of migrating geese and tailors our service around those patterns, creating a custom geese management program for our clients.

Contact us if you have a Canada goose problem, we will set up a free site demonstration to help educate your team and develop a custom program.

Do Swans Help Get Rid of Geese?

If a picture were to tell a thousand words, then the answer is obviously no. Many properties place one or two swans in their lake in hopes that it would deter the Canada geese. Unfortunately, it is not a long term solution. It is true that swans can be aggressive, but this occurs most frequently during nesting season, and the swans are aggressive to anything they deem as a threat to their eggs, including humans.

We have seen geese numbers fluctuate when there are swans present. Initially, there is a slight drop in geese, and then the number bounces back up and the two types of birds live in harmony. In fact, having a swan only indicates to geese flying by that there is an abundant food source below.

Some of our clients enjoy the presence of swans on their property for their beauty. Our trained handlers and dogs will not direct their services towards a swan or duck, they target only Canada geese.

We target Canada geese because their numbers continue to grow each year, they become very aggressive, and they leave a big mess behind. For these reasons, Canada geese become a nuisance in urban environments. Our techniques are very humane and never harm the goose, yet remain the most effective tactic to control their populations.

If you would like more information, or are interested in a free demo, please contact us.

Damage caused by Canada geese at airports

Canada geese during migration season

Bird strikes are the greatest potential hazard to aircraft, especially during migration season.

Experts put the total losses for wildlife strikes at $625 million per year in direct damage and associated costs, and over 600,000 hours of aircraft downtime. In an industry that runs on razor thin margins at virtually every level, those losses could be crippling. Financial losses pale in comparison with the loss of life that occurs in some
wildlife strikes.

Bird strikes are the greatest potential hazard to aircraft because of their size, abundance, or habit of flying in dense flocks. This time of year, airplanes are at a much greater risk to bird strikes by Canada geese.

These bird strikes increase during the migration months of March, April, August, September, October and November. The altitudes of migrating Canada geese vary with winds aloft, weather fronts, terrain elevations, cloud conditions, and other environmental variables. While over 90% of reported bird strikes occur at or below 3,000 feet, strikes at higher altitudes are common during migration. Pilots are cautioned to minimize en route flying at lower altitudes during migration.

The US Department of Transportation reports the birds smack into American planes five times more often in 2012 than they did in 1990.

Reducing Bird Strike Risk

Pilots are encouraged to review their emergency procedures when operating from airports with known bird hazards or when operating near high bird concentrations (ie. major migratory flyways). The most serious strikes involve when a Canada goose is ingested into an engine and there is a sudden loss of power or engine failure or windshield strikes which result in pilot confusion, loss of communication or aircraft control problems. An experienced pilot will be able to avoid collision by climbing to higher altitudes and handle an emergency. Canada geese can be blamed for the “Miracle on the Hudson” crash outside New York City in January 2009, disaster was averted through the quick actions of the pilot.

It is also important for pilots to report bird strikes (http://wildlife.faa.gov). The data derived from these reports are used to develop standards to cope with this hazard and provide data for control efforts.

Ohio Geese Control helps airports develop a wildlife management plan which takes many factors into consideration including: public perception, cost and permits. Some methods that are involved in an overall plan include: removal, habitat modification, chemical repellents, audio/visual repellents, and trained border collies. The combination and timing of the tactics in the plan is key to lowering the geese populations in and around airports.

Effects of Goose Poop on Your Pond

Did you ever wonder how all of the geese that are congregating in your backyard are affecting the ecology of your pond? Considering each goose can produce 1 to 2 pounds of droppings each day, and a typical Canada goose may poop 28 times a day, it doesn’t look good for homeowners.

In fact, Geese are major contributors of Phosphorus and Nitrogen in ponds. These nutrients come directly from goose excrement and cause pond eutrophication. Pond eutrophication is a natural process that all bodies of water experience. It is the gradual enrichment of nutrients over time. Goose excrement speeds up this process. Leaving extra nutrients for algae and weeds to grow rapidly. A rapid increase in algae can deplete the water of oxygen, damaging the aquatic environment and causing fish kills.

It only takes 1 goose on a 1 acre pond to overload the water with Phosphorus. 

Geese, Algae and weeds in a lake or pond can make it difficult to enjoy the water for fishing, swimming, or boating. We want you to enjoy the outdoors, particularly your ponds in this very hot weather we are having this summer. The best way to get rid of the geese is to use border collies to instill the fear of a predator on site.

Once algae and weeds have accumulated on your pond, our partners, AQUA DOC Lake and Pond Management can assist with pond management, they offer free consultations to identify your water’s needs and provide recommendations for management.

And of course, feel free to set up a free site demo with Ohio Geese Control if you want to understand our process in lowering your geese population for the long term.

Geese Molting Season

Why are the geese loosing their feathers? Every Summer, Canada geese will rejuvenate their flight feathers for Fall migration. This process of loosing their feathers is called molting. Unlike other song birds, which only loose one feather at a time, geese will loose all of their flight feathers, which does not allow them to fly. What this means, is that if geese are on your property when they are molting, they are not going to leave. This is why Ohio Geese Control provides aggressive tactics before the molting begins.

With the early Spring and the unusual dryness of the season, molting season may come a couple weeks earlier in Northern Ohio (Toledo, Sandusky, Cleveland, Akron, Canton). Typically, our season is from the end of June through the first week of August. Keep an eye out for those feathers, and that will be the indication that the process has started.

Once the geese begin to molt, there is not much you can do. You can continue to harass the geese to let them know they are not wanted and try to curb them away from populated areas like doorways or parking lots, but they will not go far. The molt process should be over in 4-6 weeks.

If you need assistance in lowering your geese populations before they begin to loose their feathers, please call us at 877-914-3373. We can provide you a free site demonstration and show you how good our services can work, and how quickly. Don’t wait too long.

How to handle baby Canada geese in your goose deterrent efforts

Now that the Canada geese nesting season is rounding the end, you will start to see many goslings (baby Canada geese) running around chasing their parents, especially if you have not been able to get rid of the geese prior to their nesting. This is why it is so important to start your Canada geese control program in February to deter nesting in urban areas as much as possible.

The goslings are protected under the Migratory Bird Act, so no harm may come to them on your property. The biggest obstacle you will need to face during this time is to stop people from feeding the goslings. It is tempting to feed these adorable creatures when they are young. However, it is doing more harm than good. Feeding the baby Canada geese will not allow them to naturally seek out their own food in nature, being taught to rely on humans for food is neither good for the goose or for humans. Geese are grazers and need to forage for their own food.

Harassment techniques can still be implemented during this time, however great care must be given as to not harm the goslings. We want to encourage them to be fearful of the area without hurting them. Instilling the fear of a natural predator is a humane and natural course, and will only give the goslings greater skill sets when they are in the wild, out of the urban setting.

The longer the goslings are on your property, the harder it will be to move them elsewhere. If they are left to fly away from your property when they are ready for Fall migration, you will increase the chance of them coming back next year. And increase the chance of them nesting at your property in years to come.

Choosing to continue a goose deterrent program during Canada gosling season is fine, as long as it is done with care.

What a Joy!

Border collie named Joy

Let me introduce you to our newest border collie, Joy. And what a joy she is! She is 4 years old, and is extremely lovable. She loves to cuddle up on the couch as much as she loves to chase after the geese. She is strong, fast and is extremely intelligent.

Border collies are one of the smartest breeds, and ideal for chasing geese for Ohio Geese Control. Their wolf-like glare and crawl up abilities really instill the fear of a predator. Our dogs may look tough, but they will never harm a goose or gosling. In fact, our tactics of utilizing border collies to harass Canada geese are recommended by the Humane Society and the Department of Natural Resources. It is a very humane and natural way to allow people and Canada geese to coexist.