Hunters and bird watchers alike enjoy the variety of migrating birds and waterfowl that fly through the Carolinas each year. But when those birds stop flying and decide to stay year round it can cause problems.
Geese are a naturally migrating bird, but one recent study says that 67 percent of American geese are non-migrating, and this is most likely due to human behavior.
Sam Stokes, a South Carolina Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Coordinator says “development of golf courses, for example, or residential areas where there are a lot of grass and water, created ideal habitats for Canada Geese, and I guess at some point, probably in the 70s, some of these geese, some flocks of them just decided that it was best to stay where they were than continue to migrate.”
Large numbers of this large bird create large amounts of waste. In addition to being unsightly, goose droppings are bad for ponds. Their persistent presence in large numbers can create nutrient loads that can cause excessive vegetation growth in ponds, which leads to oxygen depletion and fish kills. The waste is also a source of fecal coliform bacteria. Geese are also a known carrier of pathogens such as E. coli, Salmonella, Cryptosporidium and Giardia.
To get rid of the geese, first off, stop feeding them. Offering bread or cookies keeps them from migrating, plus their digestive systems cannot handle processed food, possibly leading to wing deformities. Harassing the birds will also encourage them to go somewhere else, or you can plant around your pond.
The pond is less attractive to geese when vegetative borders surround the pond. It seems that in most cases, especially in smaller ponds, geese like to land in the pond and then walk up on the hill. Planting buffers of tall grasses and shrubs around the pond can act as a deterrent to Canada Geese.
A pond that is less attractive to geese is healthier and becomes more attractive to look at. It is important to note that wintering or migrating waterfowl are not a problem. It is only those that choose to stay year round that are unwelcome.