Geese: cute n’ cuddly? or disastrously dangerous?

Cute n' cuddly?Many of us smiled when Mama and Papa Goose swam by this summer with their brood of goslings. Few of us realized these birds are a serious threat to the health of Bear Pond and Its human residents. This was the message of our guest speaker, Jesse Morris of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Wildlife Services, at the August, 2015 meeting. Canadian Geese have increased in Maine by 15% every year over the last 50 years. The East now has 1.1 million birds. This has become a serious issue not just for property damage but for human health and safety. Geese are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act so they may be destroyed only during hunting season.disastrously dangerous?

Still, when geese arrive in the area, they bring with them many serious health issues. Lawns can be contaminated. Diseases such as E.coli and salmonella are spread by geese. Water can be contaminated. Swimmers’ itch is a result.

There are several short term solutions to the problem.

  1. Eliminate feeding the geese and steepen pond banks with rip rap or plant native vegetative barriers along the banks of the pond.
  2. Harass newly arrived geese with dogs, noise makers, shiny metallic tape, etc.
  3. Exclude the geese with fencing and overhead grid systems.
  4. Provide adequate space for hunting.
  5. Use chemical repellents such as methyl anthranilate.

Mgmt. of Canada Geese NestingUnfortunately, these are short term and are often ineffective!  Long term fixes involve destroying the geese outside of hunting season.  Landowners must register with the Resident Canada Goose Nest and Egg Registration Site to do this.  In the Spring, when the geese lay their eggs, the eggs can be oiled to prevent their hatching.

 Geese will continue year after year to return to the same pond. We have atleast 17 on the pond currently and that can rapidly increase. The danger is contagion, salmonella and E.coli.

Wildlife Conflicts in MaineThe USDA can help ponds during molting season in May and June to conduct a geese roundup. Volunteers help the USDA gather the geese and they are taken away. This requires a permit. The members of BPIA voted to use the money from the Environmental Protection Fund to secure the permit and to remove the geese. Please contact us with any major or serious concerns you may have. When we review your concerns, we will address them. It is the goal of the USDA to manage the geese population from 1.1 million to 700,000 by 2020. BPIA will work to do our part for the health of you and the pond.

Respect Nesting Loons

nesting loon eggsPlease keep your distance from nesting loons or loons with chicks. Motorboats, personal water-craft, canoes, and kayaks can flush loons from their nests, leaving eggs vulnerable to predators, chilling, overheating, or abandonment. Loon nests are right on the water’s edge, and can be flooded by boat wakes. Watercraft can disrupt parental care and feeding of young. Please respect this symbol of wilderness by staying as far away as possible. Give them more room if they vocalize or show other signs of fear.common loon, Vermont

Check out these Human Health & Safety Factsheets put out by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services:

Factsheet: Living with Wildlife

Factsheet Header_Nonlethal Mgmt of Wildlife Damage

Factsheet Header_Relocating Wildlife Requires Caution