Geese running afoul; population stable despite public perception

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY)- Canada Geese are the most widespread waterfowl species in North America, their breeding range includes most of the US and Canada, and often times a nuisance to property owners.

The geese are protected migratory birds, which means killing, moving or even touching them is illegal, according to Tommy Rains of Cape Fear Wildlife Control.

They continue to migrate from the north but some have taken up residents in areas where they feel safe and are fed, according to Rains, the reason the birds are common in our area.

According to Rains, there is simple solution to prevent this from happening, take away their food source.

“The first thing I would do is remove any bird feeders because they are going to want to clean up what falls out,” he said.

Feeding these type waterfowl cause the wild- animals to depend on handout and ruins beaches and lawns with large amounts of feces and feathers and once established and used to humans, getting rid of them is difficult.

According to Biologist Doug Howell with the North Carolina Wildlife Commission, the geese are protected migratory birds, which means killing, moving or even touching them is illegal.

“Lethal take, or for example anyone that decides to run over a goose would be subject to be in violation of federal law,” he said.

There are humane ways to get rid of them, according to Rains.

“One product that I’ve used that works is a motion detector sprinkler, and the water scares the geese away,” said Rains.

Most problems stem from Canada Geese taking up residents in highly populated areas like Raleigh, Charlotte and in Wilmington, where their population is more concentrated and hunting them doesn’t happen, according to Howell.

The biggest complaint residents have are the amount of droppings and feathers they leave behind, and according to Howell, the birds population is stable despite what some may think.

“There’s a perception by the public that these geese are everywhere and they cause problems everywhere but that’s just not the case,” said Howell.

Both Rains and Howell, can’t say it enough, don’t feed wildlife.

“We have a saying in this business, with geese or gators it doesn’t matter, a fed gator is a dead gator,” said Rains. “It’s cute to feed wildlife but it damages the animals themselves.”

If you’ve tried some of these ways to get rid of geese, and they’re still a problem contact the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission by clicking here or if you have other critters you need removed safely click here.

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