Canada geese are a valuable natural resource and a source of recreation and enjoyment for bird watchers, hunters and others. Flocks in flight at this time of year are common and a welcome sign of the change in seasons.
However, local-nesting or "resident" geese have become year-round inhabitants of parks, ball fields, waterways, farms, residential areas and golf courses, where they can cause problems. The state Department of Environmental Conservation has information available on its website on how to cope with these nuisance geese.
Property owners can find tips to prevent or reduce Canada geese problems at www.dec.ny.gov/animals. DEC can issue a General Depredation Permit (GDP) that allows the disturbance or removal of adult or juvenile Canada geese or their nests or eggs, under certain situations and conditions, without having to apply for individual state and federal permits.
Geese should be chased away from an area as soon as they arrive and persistently chased until they permanently leave. Once geese start nesting they will be less likely to leave the area. Anyone may scare or chase geese without a special permit, so long as no birds are harmed.
Another technique is egg-addling, treating goose eggs to prevent hatching either by puncturing them or coating them with 100 percent corn oil. You can register for this activity on-line at epermits.fws.gov/eRCGR//. You may oil or puncture any number of nests or eggs of Canada geese on property you own, manage or have the owner's permission.
Addling prevents the embryo inside the egg from developing without causing geese to abandon the nest or start a new nest until it is too late in the summer to do so.
Landowners can also have problems with Canada geese not nesting on their property. In those situations, DEC encourages local landowners, officials and others to cooperate on a community-wide plan to address the problem. One key is reaching out to property owners where geese nest to get their permission to addle eggs. Encouraging opportunity and access for goose hunters in the fall is another key.
DRINKING / SWIMMING WATERS
Farmers and managers of drinking water supplies or swimming areas can take advantage of special federal regulations that allow them to take juvenile Canada geese before the open hunting seasons. These special provisions were established in 2007 by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to help alleviate problems with Canada geese across the country.
No federal permit is required, but authorization from DEC must be obtained in advance and specific time frames and special conditions apply.
Special permits from DEC and USFWS are required to take Canada geese to help with problems not covered by one of the above categories, such as general nuisance problems on private property. For more information review the federal regulations at www.fws.gov/permits/ or call USDA Wildlife Services at (518) 477-4837.
USDA Wildlife Services provides information and management programs, including capture and removal, to people experiencing problems with Canada geese or other migratory birds. They can assist with the federal permit application process. If you are authorized to take geese by an individual federal permit, DEC' general depredation permit automatically provides the state authorization you need to proceed.
MORE THAN 200,000
Admittedly, the problem is not solely with migrating geese but the entire population, complemented by New York's "resident" Canada goose population. It's estimated at more than 200,000 birds statewide, despite the annual harvest of more than 50,000 geese during open hunting seasons. Many more "migrant" Canada geese pass through New York to their northern Canada breeding grounds. Access for hunters remains the most important method for managing goose populations.
For more information about Canada geese, or options available to help prevent or reduce problems with Canada geese, visit the Nuisance Canada Geese web page of DEC's website or contact one of DEC's regional wildlife offices. Specific information about permit requirements can be found at: www.dec.ny.gov/docs/wildlife_pdf/nygoosepermitinfo.pdf. A list of regional offices is also available on DEC's website at www.dec.ny.gov/about.