The push to control America’s exploding geese population
DETROIT, Mich. — Cities and towns across the country are working to control the numbers of Canada geese that have taken up permanent residency in city parks, golf courses and backyards, as the migratory bird’s population has exploded in recent years becoming more than just a nuisance in some areas.
Over the last 25 years, Chris Compton has become known as the “Goose Guy.” He owns a small business outside of Detroit called Goose Busters.
“There are not many predators for them, so they become a problem,” Compton explained.
Together, with his team of border collies, Chris Compton helps rid office parks, backyard, and golf courses of pesky, invasive geese, using techniques that don’t involve harming or touching the birds.
“We are basically working to scare them away and keeping them from coming back,” he said.
The geese population across the U.S. has become more than just a nuisance. The population has swelled so large in recent years it’s creating environmental and health concerns.
“We have probably 11 million Canada geese in the Eastern half of the United States,” said David Drake, a professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
“The population is out of balance with the environment,” he added.
Across the country, homeowners and municipalities are turning to new methods for culling the birds.
“The point where these populations have become overabundant, they’ve outgrown the ability for the habitat to support them,” Drake added.
Drake says that in the U.S., we typically see two kinds of geese: migratory geese that fly south for the winter and resident geese. They are the problematic ones who have learned it’s easy to find food sources and open water in urban areas even in the colder months.
“If you can reduce the population you can reduce some of those negative impacts,” Drake said.
That’s where people like Chris Compton come in. His dogs have been specially trained to help push geese out of parks and backyards.
“We don’t harm the geese we don’t touch the geese. We push them to just fly off somewhere else,” Compton said.
Long term, the hope is that by forcing geese to relocate, they may no longer take up full-time, year-round residency.