(ARA) - We see them at the park, in our neighborhoods and even in our own backyards. Encountering a flock of wandering geese is the closest many of us ever get to wildlife, but too many geese and their droppings can render an area unusable and pose potential health risks.
With their population growing to more than 3 million in the United States, resident Canada geese feed and nest in urban and suburban settings year round within close proximity to people. These birds don't migrate, choosing to endure winter temperatures and tolerate human disturbances in exchange for ideal living conditions with no predators.
One goose can eat more than three pounds of grass per day and not only strips lawns, parks and other grassy areas, but leaves behind up to two pounds of potentially hazardous waste droppings.
In addition to posing a slipping hazard, goose droppings may contain parasites, which through hand-to-mouth contact can cause gastrointestinal illness. Too many geese congregating around lakes and ponds have caused bacteria counts to reach unsafe levels in water used for swimming and drinking.
At airports, resident Canada geese have become a significant safety threat, resulting in dangerous takeoff and landing conditions, costly repairs and fatal airplane accidents.
A number of non-lethal techniques are used in an attempt to manage and control resident Canada geese populations. These include using trained dogs that chase the geese away, recordings of wolves and foxes, noisy pyrotechnics and hand-held laser guns. Often, geese become accustomed to these techniques -- which pose no true threat -- and they come back to the same area.
An innovative goose repellent called FlightControl PLUS has proven successful in getting geese to move to other feeding sites. A professional applicator sprays the product on turf. When geese feed on the grass, they experience a mild but effective intestinal reaction.
Geese, unlike humans, can see the compound on the grass in the ultraviolet light spectrum and become conditioned to stay away.
FlightControl PLUS is a synthesized version of a naturally occurring compound found in many plants. The Environmental Protection Agency states that no unreasonable adverse effects will result from the use of this product when label instructions are followed.
While interacting with Canada geese may seem like a fun and educational way to get close to nature, it can be hazardous. Consider these tips to prevent problems between you and these majestic birds:
* Don't feed geese. The US Fish and Wildlife Service cautions that feeding them can be harmful, create dependency on people for food, cause conflicts between geese and humans and spread disease.
* Avoid areas with goose droppings or nesting geese. Male geese vigorously defend their nesting sites.
* Take caution during June and July while driving on roads near molting geese. Geese cannot fly while molting and often "jaywalk" across busy roads creating traffic hazards.
* Alert park and property managers about excessive goose populations and ask them to consider non-lethal control methods. Courtesy of ARA Content