Our condo complex is looking for ways to contain the geese that come to our pond so the sidewalks remain walkable. We are considering the following: 1) A line of stakes along the sidewalk. 2) A hedgerow along the sidewalk 3) Flightcontrol - a compound that treats the grass to make the geese uncomfortable. http://flightcontrol.com/ 4) Aquatic plants for the edge of the pond or plantings on the shore to discourage them from going up on the lawn. I’d like some guidance on the things listed above. Thanks, Kevin O’Brien
Ottawa County Michigan
Thank you for using MSU extension ask and expert with your Canada goose control question. Canada geese can be very frustrating and within a populated area such as a condo, can rise additional issues. If you have a very large expanse of grass even creating a no mow zone alone may not be enough. You are on the right track for managing this cute but often pest bird.
I am going to unpack your question with my thoughts per consideration.
1. Line of stakes – this should also include wiring and fencing and may prove to be unsightly and be walked over by humans as they enter grassy areas for recreation. But only helps with the sidewalk.
2. A hedgerow along the sidewalk – this would be more attractive to the residents and provide a bit of landscaping interests. I support this natural fence idea.
3. Flightcontrol – a repellent option you can also use ReJeXiT and Repel as long as they are in the water. These work by making the birds sick when they eat the grass there and move to food that does not upset their stomachs. This has to be repeated and may be expensive.
4. Aquatic plants along the pond edge – naturalizing your pond with a no now zone is one way to keep the birds on the water. It will also help to protect your pond from surface sediment runoff reducing nutrient loading and will help to control algae growth in your pond as well.
5. Other forms of control can include:
a. Absolutely do not let the residents feed the geese. Educate your residents.
b. Decoys of dead birds, gees won’t go where there are dead geese. It indicates a predator is near. Works great in combination with C.
c. Silhouettes of dogs and coyotes, and 3-d models of the same. Alligator head decoys in the pond.
d. Distressed bird calls looped on an outdoor speaker. Again, danger. This works at a local medical clinic campus in Kalamazoo with a nice retention pond between buildings. The geese don’t even land there but, your residents may not like it all day every day. You might want to consider a timer to cycle the calls every 2-3 hours during the morning and evening when these birds move about.
e. Killing eggs and replacing in nests
f. A real dog – herding dogs are best. They love to run and won’t try to kill the birds keeping them to the water or out entirely. Are your residents allowed dogs? Perhaps encourage a designated run area that is where the geese are not allowed. Providing poop pickup bags or a trash can to take poop bags at the end of the walkway to encourage picking up pet waste encourages residents to use a designated place for pets.
g. Have a goose roundup: contact the DNR about this https://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7-350-79136_79608_83071_83072_83445_84979-232661--,00.html
Good luck, here are some resources below:
Thanks for getting back to me.
One other question - does ReJeXiT and Repel affect the ducks? We do not want to disturb them. Just managing geese.
It is possible. The repellent products are specific to waterfowl and must be ingested to work. If for example, you treated the lawn areas near your walkways and your ducks feed in those areas along with the geese they will also become slightly ill from the grass and be repelled by it .
Thanks again, Beth. Seems I’m a fountain of questions. Here’s the next (last?) one?
Is there a schematic, guide or other information for plantings to control geese as follows:
A. At the edge of the water (in the water)
B. Along the shoreline immediately around the pond (on land)
Hello again.. for this I would direct you to your one stop shop at the Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership website for a native plant list. They talk about lakes but it all applies to ponds as well. https://www.mishorelinepartnership.org/ . There are also professional landscapers listed on this site that are certified for working along shorelines.
Here is an article with a nice photo of an example of their installation https://www.pilotonline.com/life/home-garden/article_886e2c18-c8da-11e8-be5c-0f8b4f6f80ff.html
You can create a more formally landscaped edge to fit landscaping expectations for your condo site. Keep the plants to native choices and installed tightly together so that the geese are unable to see through and over your barrier.