If you live in Champaign County then I am sure that you are familiar with the Canada goose. Canada geese are a permanent fixture here in Champaign County. For bird lovers they may be fun to watch, but if you own or live near a pond you may think a little less of them.
Nearly extirpated from Ohio in the early part of the 20th century, Canada Geese are now so numerous that they can cause conflicts, especially in urban areas. Urban areas contribute to the growth in the Canada goose population in three ways – an abundance of food (short grass for grazing), plenty of nesting habitat, (ponds, small lakes and water retention basins), and protection (city ordinances against goose hunting). As urban areas continue to grow in Ohio and the amount of goose habitat expands, it is very likely that urban geese will continue to grow in numbers.
Every year our agency receives inquiries about what can be done to alleviate problems associated with conflict geese. Most complaints come from golf courses and businesses where ponds or small lakes are surrounded by lush green grass, the perfect combination of food and cover for the adaptable Canada goose. We also receive calls from farmers that experience problems with nuisance geese. The geese are usually using a pond in the middle of a pasture field and then making a nuisance of themselves. Again, the problem here is usually lush green grass or vegetation.
The critical element in goose problem solving is timing. NOW is the time to drive geese off of property, plan ways to reduce the amount of mowed grass around ponds, and/or put up barriers to keep geese out of specific areas. It is too late if landowners wait until geese start to lay eggs before they decide to do something about them. Once that first egg is laid, almost nothing will cause that Canada goose to leave the area.
And last but not least, if you don’t want Canada geese around, do not allow people to feed them on your property. If you live in the county you can and should encourage hunting during the early September goose season. This addresses the problem with the local geese that have taken up residence on your property.
If you are experiencing a Canada goose problem, you may receive information or file a complaint by going to www.wildohio.gov or by calling 1-800-WILDLIFE. And, of course, you can call me to discuss your problem at 614-902-4209.
Jeff Tipton is the State Wildlife Officer assigned to Champaign County.