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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Evaluation of an Integrated Non-Lethal Canada Goose Management Program in New York (2004 - 2006)


New York State has an estimated population of 249,702 resident Canada geese. Human-goose conflicts are increasing, including unacceptable accumulation of goose feces in public parks, overgrazing of landscaped lawns, noise, and aggressive behavior of individual geese. An integrated Canada goose management program was conducted and evaluated at 8 sites in Orange County, New York from 2004 to 2006. The program, conducted from March through November each year, consisted of egg oiling (300-470 eggs oiled a year), hazing to reduce local goose populations using multiple techniques, public outreach/education, and program monitoring. The monitoring component included goose movement and population surveys using neck-collared geese and standardized fecal counts, at both managed and unmanaged sites. We monitored 3 unmanaged (“control”) sites to provide a comparison. We conducted fecal surveys, as an indirect method for potentially estimating site-specific goose populations and associated reduction in damage. The number of droppings counted, when standardized to droppings per foot per day, decreased at treated sites (2004, 0.16; 2005, 0.12; 2006, 0.05) but did not differ at unmanaged sites, indicating a sustained population reduction on site during the project. In addition, the mean number of geese observed at treated sites decreased each year (2004, 77; 2005, 19; 2006, 11) while the mean number at unmanaged sites did not differ. The alternate location of the majority of dispersed geese is unknown, although monitoring of marked birds indicates that many birds moved only short distances (<2 km). The implementation of an integrated non-lethal goose damage management program over 3 years reduced the number of Canada geese at specific locations and minimized local conflicts. The widespread adoption of this type of program could reduce humanCanada goose conflicts across a larger landscape but will require extensive coordination of local projects, a public involvement process, and an intensive, long-term commitment of resources.

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