Managing Canadian Geese in Kingston

Canadian Geese, Kingston, OntarioWhile strolling along Kingston’s waterfront this summer, I’ve regularly encountered large gaggles of Branta Canadensis, otherwise known as the Canadian Goose.  Sadly, these beautiful birds are a bit of a nuisance as a result of the seemingly impossible concentration of droppings they leave behind, which creates a messy minefield in parks, and everywhere else they choose to congregate.  But are Canadian Geese really and truly a problem in the Limestone City?  For the longest time I didn’t think so, however my opinion changed after I passed a heartbroken pair of Canadian Geese who were lamenting the loss of a fallen feathered friend at the side of the road. It was a tragic scene that made me consider how our proximity negatively impacts one another. Accordingly, this week’s poll asks:
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Perhaps we should feel honoured that so many Canadian Geese feel safe enough to take up seasonal residence here in Kingston. Further, I think it’s worth pointing out that it could be much worse.  New York City is so attractive, it is estimated that 20,000 Canadian Geese live there year-round, while approximately the same number of geese take up seasonal refuge.  The Big Apple has dealt with this problem with mass killings, which is not required nor the preferred response here in Kingston.  While the simplest solution would be for us to learn to accept their presence, perhaps the easiest way to curb unwanted Canadian Geese is to stop feeding them, and drive them away from our most coveted areas.

What are your thoughts on Kingston’s Canadian Goose problem?  Or, are you of the opinion that they’re not pests? Let us know your thoughts on how the city can humanely approach the management of our nation’s favourite feathered mascot.  As an added incentive, this week’s best comment will earn one insightful reader two tickets and a backstage meet & greet with legendary rocker Steve Earle and his wife Allison Moorer, who will be performing at the Grand Theatre on August 19th.  Special thanks to The Grand Theatre for offering up this prize, as well as to Pierce Ray for today’s photo.

Harvey Kirkpatrick

Harvey Kirkpatrick is Kingstonist's Co-Founder. His features curiously explore urban planning, what if scenarios, the local food scene and notable Kingstonians. Loves playing tourist and listening to rap music. Learn more about Harvey...

6 thoughts on “Managing Canadian Geese in Kingston

  • the Wolfe Island wind farm stole their natural habitat, karma?

  • Make it legal to hunt them, I understand they're not bad eating.

  • First off do not feed geese or they will never move on. Since geese prefer a mowed law lets plant shrubs and other visual barriers. Geese dislike visual barriers between ponds and feeding areas. Also less grooming is required so another win for the environment. Also try the "scarecrow approach" placing scare tape. A thin, shiny ribbon, often silver on one side and red on the other. Place the reflective tape where it is visible to the geese and make a low fence across the area where you don't want geese to cross. Tie short lengths of the shiny ribbon on the cross tape; the flashing and rattling of the tape can frighten geese. Loud noises and dogs also scare geese. If all else fails there is also live trapping and relocation.

    • Regarding the scarecrow idea, when researching what sorts of anti-geese mechanisms there are, I came across plastic decoys that resemble dead geese. I guess the thought is that they're smart enough to recognize the signs of a predator or negative environmental factor.

  • I havent run into any areas where I would consider them to be enough of a nuisance that I would change my activities. When I go to the park, I wear shoes because poop of any sort (yes, any) is generally a hazard. Its not that bad really. Again this seems to be a case of NIMBYism only its with wildlife, and not with dumps, needle exchanges or halfway houses. Sure the wildlife was here first and I am all for them having the run of the land, but I dont want them leaving little poops in the park where I carelessly walk without having to look where I am going.

  • Your geese are beautiful! But I didn't see egg addling mentioned as a way to stabilize the population. Vancouver, BC has permanent year round Canada geese and has kept the population stable with egg addling some years. Egg addling is recommended by the Humane Society. .

    There is also a 'green' machine called Naturesweep (developed in Burnaby BC) which is increasingly being used in communities, including Saranac, New York, to scoop up goose poop which is then recycled into free compost for the community.

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