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Non-Migratory Goose Management
  
Piloting a New Path for Coping with Non-Migratory Resident Canada Geese

Non-migratory Resident Canada Geese are impacting agricultural lands and other green spaces in the Capital Regional District. As a result, CRD Regional Parks partnered with regional municipalities (including Central Saanich) and associated agencies to develop a Regional Goose Management Strategy to be completed in 2012. As well, the District of Central Saanich Council approved a District Nest Identification Pilot Program 2012 for the collection of nest survey data.

While flocks of migrating geese have always moved through in the fall and spring, taking advantage of the abundant food resources offered from the fertile estuaries and uplands, nesting geese (i.e. resident geese) that do not migrate is a relatively new phenomenon on the landscape, and one created by people.

In a well-intentioned effort to have this iconic Canadian bird in the region and create hunting opportunities for outdoor sportsmen in the 1960’s, young Canada geese were brought here through a program supported by Environment Canada, the Fish and Wildlife Branch of the Province, and hunting and stewardship groups. These goslings came from several stocks of geese across the country. As such, these birds never experienced the critical imprinting period with their parents and never learned to migrate. Since then these birds have bred with each other, creating hybrids of several types of Canada geese that otherwise would not naturally have encountered each other. With no natural predators on the landscape, abundant food from farmland, and a decrease in hunting, a non-migratory resident Canada goose population has been allowed to grow unchecked.

Unfortunately the damage that this thriving population can cause includes:

Eating crops and damaging farmland costing thousands of dollars for agricultural producers across the District and the CRD;

Preventing other waterfowl species (e.g. smaller ducks) from nesting or accessing natural areas because of the aggressive territorial nature of nesting geese;

Over-grazing sensitive natural areas such as estuaries; and

Grazing in public parks and fields, ruining the turf surfaces, leaving large amounts of fecal matter which can contain pathogens, is aesthetically displeasing, and increases maintenance costs.

Geese Field Damage

 


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