Managing Canada Geese in Urban Environments: A Technical Guide
By Arthur E. Smith, Scott R. Craven and Paul D. Curtis, 1999. Jack Berryman Institute Publication 16, and Cornell University Cooperative Extension, Ithaca, NY. 42 letter size pages.
This review was first published in “The Probe”, the official newsletter of the National Animal Damage Control Association (disbanded) and is republished here with some modifications. If you would like your product reviewed contact me a firstname.lastname@example.org.
One area of animal damage control that will require the attention of an increasing number of wildlife control operators (WCO) in the coming years is the managing of Canada geese. Although almost hunted to extinction earlier in this century, Canada geese have made a remarkable comeback. Complaints are definitely on the rise. Severity of the geese problems range from fecal material on lawns to the threat of bird strikes.
Canada Goose Guide’s Purpose and Content
This booklet was created to act as an information clearing house on the available techniques for handling/resolving Canada Geese problems.
The booklet can be divided into three basic section. The first section dutifully explains the present Canada geese problem and why it needs to be addressed. The authors then provide a two page natural history of the birds, placing special attention on information useful for controlling geese.
The authors then outline the difficulties that need to be addressed before an effective goose management strategy can be implemented. Suggestions are given to help officials address and minimize the political ramifications of the chosen management techniques.
I was disappointed that the authors mistakenly referred to animal rights groups as animal welfare groups. Perhaps the authors were trying to be kind. But their use of this inaccurate language can give the less astute reader the impression that hunters and biologists aren’t concerned with animal welfare.
The second section, which covers the lion’s share of the booklet, lays out the various control techniques presently available. The techniques are organized in order of how adversely the technique will impact the geese. The first technique listed is the discontinuance of feeding, while the last technique is active hunting. In short, the techniques move from the non-lethal to the lethal.
The third section consists of 3 appendices. Sometimes appendices are little more than filler. Such is not the case in this booklet. Here the authors have compiled appendices that will greatly simplify any NWCO’s need for easy access to information. The first appendix consists of a grid on equipment suppliers. In an instant you can see which suppliers sell various control products. The second appendix lists the addresses and phone numbers of the listed suppliers in appendix one. The authors have also added phone numbers of the USDA-Wildlife Services by state and the Canadian wildlife offices for each province as well. I thought these government additions were a nice touch. The third appendix summarizes the techniques so you can easily peruse them noting the strengths and weaknesses, relative cost (little, medium high) and when the technique should be instituted. To my mind the appendices make the booklet well worth the 10 dollar cost.
Assessment of the Canada Goose Guide
The authors have clearly done their homework. The reader will be pleasantly surprised at the miraculous way the authors blended accuracy, brevity and clarity. Each technique is explained and then the reader is informed as to its relative effectiveness. The authors also explained ways that made the techniques work more effectively and even warned you of actions that did the reverse. I was particularly impressed when they provided information on potential costs of a technique, such as how much it would cost to use Border Collies to haze geese. This type of information can be extremely useful to WCOs looking to provide consultation or estimating a job quote.
The authors are also to be commended for warning how some of the techniques may cause unwanted effects, such as moving the geese to another area where they are not wanted.
I give the booklet an animal damage control grade of A- because it is getting a bit dated and doesn’t include newer techniques such as methyl anthranilate. Nevertheless, it is a must have publication that will clearly educate anyone looking to enter the geese control business. After reading this document you will have greater confidence in explaining the pros and cons of each potential control option. As can be expected the authors have included a comprehensive bibliography, if you desire to check out the primary sources.
The text was professionally laid out and easy to read. Photos and line drawings were clear and understandable. My one complaint here concerns the choice of some of the photos. I thought a photo of a propane canon and people feeding geese would have been better replaced with photos on landscape design that discouraged geese. Another photo that could have been included would be one of how to properly hold a goose. In and of themselves, the photos published are fine. But if there were budgetary concerns, I would have thought using other photos would have added more informational value.
Nevertheless, I can assure you, purchasing this booklet will be well worth your money.
About the Author
Stephen M. Vantassel is a certified wildlife control operator who helps individuals, businesses, and agencies resolve wildlife damage issues through training, writing, expert witness, and research. His latest book is the Wildlife Damage Inspection Handbook, 3rd edition. He can be contacted at stephenvantassel at Hotmail dot com.
All postings are the property of Stephen M. Vantassel and Wildlife Control Consultant, LLC. Text may be reprinted in non-profit publications provided that the author and website URL is included.