It is a beautiful site to see loons, ducks and geese floating through the water and we pause to watch every time we see this. What we need to understand is what these waterfowl are doing to our lake.
Canada Geese specifically are poisoning our lake and perhaps us as well. Last year, there were two families, approximately 25 geese that took up residence on Lake Waseosa.
So what, you ask … well here are some disturbing facts.
- Each goose consumes 4lb of greenery per day
- They poop approximately every 12 minutes and deposit an average of 2lb/day. 25 geese X 2lb is 50lbs of feces in and around our lake daily
- Geese mate and give birth in the general area where they were born and live up to 25 years. Given the flock rate, we could see 75-100 geese on the lake next year (now were talking about 150 + lbs. of feces/day)
Accumulation of feces is probably the biggest issue with housing Canada geese. This can quickly lead to degrading the water quality. Water quality is compromised when geese defecate in the lake and land feces are washed into the water by rain. This can lead to an excess of algae and submerged plants that can deplete oxygen and kill fish. In addition, goose poop carries pathogens giardia and coliform bacteria, which can cause illness in humans when accidentally ingested.
The geese may also impact our loons. Although geese and loons can exist in the same habitat, the geese pose a threat to our loon population. Both species like to nest in similar habitat. While both incubate their clutches for about 4 weeks, the geese initiate their clutches about 2 weeks before the loons and set up in the most desirable locations. This means the loon’s nest may be more vulnerable to predators or vacate the lake.
What can we do to deter geese from residing on Lake Waseosa?
First of all … DON’T FEED THE GEESE!
I am not talking about leaving out stale bread; I am talking about presenting your lawn as a buffet with easy access. Examples are a shoreline that has grass to the waters edge and boat ramps that provide a walkway into the property.
When searching for an ideal place to nest, Canada geese are seeking bodies of water surrounded by expanses of mown, cool-season grasses. However, if the visual line of sight between the water and adjacent grass area is broken, geese will be deterred because they are uncomfortable not knowing what is on the other side of the tall shoreline vegetation.
When tall shoreline vegetation is not an option, geese can be excluded from water with a barrier. One suggestion is to run two lines of wire or string across the open area, one 6 inches off the ground and the other 18 inches. The two-line barrier prevents the geese from ducking under or stepping over to reach the water. (Here is one commercial retractable line system)
This is something that can be easily removed when using the space and it will help to deter the geese.
Additional option can include, but not limited to, the following:
- Your dog can chase them
- Sudden unexpected loud noises
- Visual deterrents (Here is one commercial flashing beacon system)
The more uncomfortable we make it for the geese to find food and safe havens to nest, the more likely they will move away from Lake Waseosa.
The Humane Society advises that not all commercial deterents are effective. Anything new may work temporarily, but geese are smart enough to quickly realize when something doesn’t pose a real threat. These types of devices do not work as long-term solutions to Canada geese conflicts:
• Stationary predator effigies (inflatable snakes, plastic owls)
• Human scarecrows
• Floating alligator heads
• Dead-goose decoys
There may not be much we can do this season other than making these predators uncomfortable. We can look toward next year for prevention.
In the early spring: March – May, please make sure you barricade any sloping areas that lead the geese from the shoreline into your property. This can prevent them from nesting and they will move on.
Thank you for you consideration and assistance in dealing with the Canada Geese population on Lake Waseosa.