Growing Resident Geese Populations

How to discourage resident geese.

More and more Canadian Geese are taking up residence in one area and have given up on migrating South each Winter.

More and more Canadian Geese are taking up residence in one area and have given up on migrating South each Winter.  Why?  Did they get tired of the overcrowded Winter goose population down there? Bad drivers? Too many tourists? Tired of the routine of the long haul down there, only to turn around and fly back a few months later?

There are many theories on why the geese are becoming 'resident geese' meaning that they stay in one area all year around, rather than migrating.  Migrating is a genetic trait that the Canada geese are known for.  Their large 'V' flocks flying high overhead in the Fall is a common sight. 

Typical Canada Goose Calendar

Spring:  Fly North in flocks.  These flocks can consist of a dozen geese to upwards of a hundred geese all in the V formation.  The purpose to go North is to find a mate, if they don't already have one, build a nest, and reproduce. Once the geese have found an area they want to spend their Summer, they break away from the flock. Geese can get agressive with other geese and people to claim their nesting areas.

Summer: Along with their mate, they separate from the flock and raise the young gosslings, if they produce any.  Adult geese lose their flight feathers (molt) during this time. Mother nature's way of forcing the parents to stay with their young. There is some very interesting behavior that can be observed with the adult geese. Sometimes, you can witness an adult goose leading the gosslings into danger.  Walking them out into traffic, or directly towards a barking dog.  Normally, when this happens, it is one single adult goose with four or more baby geese.  In humans, some mothers have postpartum depression where they feel the urge to harm their babies.  Could this same thing happen in geese? Maybe.

Fall: Fly South in flocks.  Find or form a flock they can fly with and to warmer climates. These flocks contain new 'rookie' geese that have never migrated before.  These 'rookie' geese have just been hatched this Summer and need to learn to fly with the flock. Smaller flocks of geese practice taking off and landing, and then join other smaller flocks to create large flocks of geese.  During this time, the geese interact with each other and sometimes they fly off together, sometimes, they go their separate ways to find a better flock. I wonder how they determine their 'V' fly teams. Finally, they leave their Summer areas in flocks and arrive in the area where they will Winter.

Winter: The geese arrived late Fall and will stay in an area for the Winter until heading back North for Spring. This is a time for the geese to simply be geese. They are not nesting, they are not migrating, they are just relaxing and being geese.

So, why do some geese stay in one area all year long? Could it be that they never found a 'V' flying team to migrate south with?  Are these resident geese, really 'undrafted flyers' hoping that they will make the team next Fall? Did they choose not go migrate South?  Or, were they not allowed to fly with a flock? Is the warmer climate trends allowing some geese to stay in Northern areas all year without freezing their tail feathers off? Are there more food sources available for them? Fewer predators, so they feel safer to stay in an area?

Of course, some geese are injured and cannot migrate. 

There may be multiple accurate reasons why there seems to be a growing resident goose population. Living with geese and the 1 to 3 lbs of poop they leave per day, can be very frustrating even for one season, but to live with them on your property all year, can be downright painful.  Wait...maybe that is what started people to become  'snow birds'. The geese weren't migrating so, the people went South for the Winter to get a break from the geese.  Then others caught on and now its a trend.  Hmmm...could it be that the geese have simply started a trend of residing in the same spot all year and that is the cause of more and more geese doing the same.

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