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.