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Godzilla, Giant Squids, King Kong and Canadian Geese

- June 13, 2014 by Leslie Stoll, CSP, ARM (View all posts by Leslie)

Forget about Godzilla, giant squids, and King Kong.  In many parts of the country we are facing a real threat! The Canadian goose.

Canadian geese are protected under the Migratory Bird Act. At one time, the number of Canadian geese in existence had decreased enough to warrant federal protection, but with that protection, their numbers have rallied to an estimated 5.6 million in 2009 (Canada Geese Damage Management). The Canadian goose can take over your land and destroy your peace and quiet, but since geese are protected under federal laws, you cannot harm or kill them. If they are already nesting on your property (or if you are a landscaper or service contractor and they are nesting on a customer’s property) you need to train you staff on working safely around them.

Geese can be very territorial, particularly in the spring when they are protecting their young. They have been known to charge and attack humans.  Here is some useful information to share with your employees about this issue:

  1. Do not feed geese, this includes accidently leaving food waste in outside eating areas.
  2. Fence off ponds before nesting occur, but if you are too late, fence off a wide area around the nesting spot so people cannot get too close. Your state’s Department of Wildlife can help you determine if a nest can be moved but this can only be considered in extreme cases.
  3. Create a policy that makes crossing fences or approaching a goose against company policy. Even if the geese are away, goose poop can be slippery and lead to a fall into the lake!
  4. If a goose attacks, back away while maintaining eye contact. They will only follow you so far.
  5. Do not touch goose poop and do not drink out of ponds where geese are nesting.  In the event of accidental contact with a goose, goose poop or nest area, wash with soap and water. Goose poop can carry diseases but that does not mean you are going to get sick. People with compromised immune systems should take extra care to prevent contact. For more information on diseases associated with goose poop please check out the Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management. The center does “caution readers that presence of a disease does not necessarily translate into a threat to public health. Nevertheless, [they] advise caution as the research in this field continues to evolve” (“Canada Geese Damage Management, 2008).
  6. Prepare a control plan. There are steps you can take to prevent geese from nesting on your property so that you avoid this problem. For assistance on developing a control plan, you may need to recruit the help of experts or read more on long term control. Balloons and fake alligators will only fool a goose in the short term.

Geese are a real problem; Hewlett Packard has a goose problem in Idaho that made the Huffington Post in 2013. Don’t wait to make the news, take action today!

References:

“Canada Geese-Living with our Wild Neighbors in Urban and Suburban Communities.” HumaneSociety.org. The Humane Society of the United States, May 2010. Web. 06 June 2014. Http://www.humanesociety.org/assets/pdfs/wild_neighbors/canada_goose_guide.pdf.

Hower, Jeff. “When Geese Attack.” OhioGeeseControl.com. Ohio Geese Control, 10 March 2012. Web. 04 June 2014. http://www.ohiogeesecontrol.com/when-geese-attack/

Moye, David. “Hewlett-Packard Employees At Risk Of Geese Attacks?” TheHuffingtonPost.com. The Huffington Post, 20 May 2013. Web. 04 June 2014. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/18/hewlett-packard-geese-attacks_n_3289096.html

“Canada Geese Damage Management.” ICWDM.org. Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management, 2008. Web. 04 June 2014. http://icwdm.org/handbook/birds/CanadaGeese/HumanHealth.aspx