Observing wild animals – birds especially – is a great winter and year-round pastime and can bring the diligent viewer great joy. But closer interaction with droppings on lawn, waterfront and docks and water can become unpleasant. Canada goose droppings are not just a nuisance, they contain significant nutrients which can fuel bacterial and aquatic plant growth. The latter especially has become of significant concern with the observation of increasing community size of several aquatic plants.
About Canada GeeseThis article on Canada Geese by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) proposes recommended control measures captured below. Before getting into that, some high-level facts about Canada geese.
Geese are classified by two distinct groups … year-round resident geese and migratory. The migratory geese that transit CT have bred in Newfoundland, Labrador or Northern Quebec, and arrive in Connecticut in early October. Typically they leave for sunnier climes as the lakes and ponds freeze – late December to early January. The resident geese remain here year-round, but interestingly, can serve as decoys attracting the large migratory flocks.
CT DEEP Suggested control measuresMost of the recommended control measures are designed to discourage geese from taking up residence at your (our) lake or pond. This is especially important in light of the “decoy” nature of Geese being attracted to where Geese are already.
- Modify habitats — plant unpalatable vegetation such as pachysandra, allow grass to grow longer and plant hedges or visual barriers between feeding areas and water.
- Erect barriers — erect low fences, especially in June and July when geese are molting and unable to fly. Three foot high chicken wire, welded wire or even soft or nylon or polyethelene fences can be used.
- Frighten birds — this method needs to be planned and implemented early and consistently. Even a single remaining bird can become that decoy. See the State of Connecticut DEEP article for more details. But in a nutshell, the recommended practices include: shell-crackers, whistler rockets, tethered ballons and trained dogs.
In conclusion, I personally would love to watch the beautiful Canada geese fly over the autumn sky in their iconic V formation away from West Hill Lake forever. But in the interest of protecting the lake water quality, I’d prefer they keep on their way rather than stop.
by Sue Hall