Professor, Department Extension Leader, and Coordinator of the Wildlife Damage Management Program for Cornell Cooperative Extension, Department of Natural
Resources, Cornell University
Friday, March 2, 2:30 to 3:30pm
The Challenges of Dealing with Resident Canada Geese in New York State
During the past 20 years, local-breeding, or “resident” Canada geese have saturated available breeding areas in much of NYS. In the Finger Lakes area, geese may stay year-round as long as open water and food are available. They only migrate as far south as needed when deep winter snow makes grass or waste grain (primary winter foods) inaccessible. During summer months, these resident geese graze on turf grass in parks, on ball fields, school grounds, corporate areas, and golf courses. Each goose may leave behind a pound of feces per day fouling lawns and ponds. During the molt in late June/early July, adult geese lose their flight feathers creating a further mess. Because the adult birds and juvenile geese can’t fly for several weeks, landowners are stuck with goose conflicts at molting sites. Hazing or scaring geese may move geese off problem sites, but they don’t go far. Water is their safe haven, and it is almost impossible to break their site fidelity. Resident geese return to the same places to breed and molt year after year. This creates a tremendous management challenge for people who manage, parks, school grounds, golf courses, and other turf grass areas near ponds and lakes.