Carolina Clear: the problems with geese and how to deal with them

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Terasa Lott, Water Resources Agent with Clemson University Extention, joined News13 NOW on Tuesday to talk about problems with Canada Geese. As part of Clemson Extention’s Carolina Clear initiative, the conversation focused on how geese can threaten the quality and safety of local waterways.

Lott also provided some tips on how to deal with geese and prevent them from becoming a problem. Watch the video for more details. A synopsis of the conversation, along with a listing of the potential problems and tips follow:

Canada Geese are beautiful birds, and they are normally migratory.  However, some birds have stopped migrating. Those birds are called “resident birds,” and they can be problematic in a number of ways.  They produce large amounts of waste, which can make property unusable.  The waste is also a source of fecal bacteria.  The waste acts as a fertilizer as well, which can lead to excess algae and weed growth and potentially low oxygen levels.

Problems are associated with resident Canada geese:

  • Produce large amounts of waste (defecate 28-92 times per day)
  • Waste can make property unusable
  • Contributes to excess weed and algae growth
  • Source of fecal bacteria which can affect recreational use of water (such as swimming)
  • Erosion due to heavy feeding/grazing

Ways to deter geese?

  • Don’t feed geese. The foods people tend to feed them such as bread and crackers may be detrimental to their health. May contribute to a wing deformity known as angel wing (which leaves them flightless)
  • Install signs to reinforce “no feeding” concept
  • Alter the habitat by planting tall grasses and shrubs
  • Introduce deterrents such as dogs (must be done frequently as geese will return shortly after the dog has left)
  • Controlling reproduction – methods such as egg destruction can be used however there are strict rules about when and how this can be done

Resources for people looking for information about managing resident Canada Geese?

A two-part fact sheet is available through Clemson’s Home & Garden Information Center.  Since the URLs are a bit long, the easiest way to find them is to go to www.clemson.edu/hgic and type “geese” in the search box.

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