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HomeOutdoorsHelp with handling nuisance geese

Help with handling nuisance geese

REGION – Once close to extinction, Canada geese now are a common sight on Michigan’s waters. In fact, they nest in every Michigan county, but are most common in the southern third of the state. You may even see and hear Canada geese all year round in some parts of the state. 

In June and July, these birds often are found on lakes and golf course ponds, feeding on the lush lawns while molting – the annual rite of losing their flight feathers, which takes about two weeks. Canada geese are unable to fly during molting, so putting up a temporary barrier between your yard and the water may help keep flightless geese away from your property. Geese are especially attracted to lawns that are heavily fertilized, watered and mowed.

“If you live on a lake and geese frequently visit your yard, try making your lawn less attractive to them by allowing your grass to grow long and do not fertilize or water it,” said Barbara Avers, waterfowl and wetland specialist with the DNR.

Intentionally feeding Canada geese can attract them to the area as well, so don’t – especially if you are having conflicts with geese. Artificial feeding can make them comfortable around people, and can cause other problems for the birds. Bread can cause serious vitamin deficiencies in birds, leading to a condition called angel wing, which impairs flight. Feeding geese can also increase overcrowding and potentially spread disease.

“You may also want to use scare tactics to frighten them away,” said Avers. “Use a combination of loud noises such as shell crackers, bird alarms or bird bangers, distress cries, screamers and electronic noise systems along with visual deterrents like bird scare balloons, Mylar scare tape and plastic flags.”

Additional information on how to handle conflicts with geese, including population control options, is available at Michigan.gov/Wildlife

Canada goose hunting season dates and bag limits can be found in the current Waterfowl Hunting Digest at Michigan.gov/Waterfowl.

Questions about goose conflicts or goose hunting? Contact the DNR Wildlife Division at 517-284-9453.

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