The Good News and the Bad News

A Mild Start to Winter is Good News for Geese, and Bad News for Property Managers

You may be seeing more geese this winter on your property than usual. The mild weather keeps the water flowing and the grass accessible, which keeps the geese here longer. If you are having issues, please feel free to call us at 1-877-914-3373.

Resident Canada geese are non-migrating geese; you will see them on your property year-round. The geese that stay in our area 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.

Feel free to give us a call if you see geese on site this winter. Ohio Geese Control will continue our efforts to control the geese population in a safe and humane manner.

It’s not too early to think about Spring

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to control the Canada geese population at Ohio Geese Control this year. Spring is just around the corner and it is a critical time of year for Canada geese management. To begin chasing off the resident geese and be there for the migrating geese we need to be in service in February to ensure relocating the geese before they nest. Starting later in the season will increase the chances of goslings at your property.

Call us for a free site visit and demonstration of our skilled handlers and dogs
at 877-914-3373.

How do you get rid of Canada geese?

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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 Columbus, 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.

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.

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.

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

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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.

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.