Do Geese Contaminate Water?

May 30, 2023

Geese & Contaminated Water

Waterfowl birds are beautiful and graceful from a distance while they float across a pond, lake, or other body of water, however some waterfowl can be a nuisance and may even cause water contamination in bodies of water they nest or temporarily dwell in. Geese have gained a reputation for being aggressive towards not only other wildlife, but with humans as well. Their behavior can be somewhat annoying and difficult to control as they can make lots of noise, cause fights with other waterfowl, and chase or attack people. Water pollution from goose manure doesn’t seem like it would be a serious public health issue until one begins to understand the levels of waste a single goose can produce in one day. One single goose can produce up to two pounds of poop each day spreading waste across yards, bike paths, walkways, pathways, grass, public parks, and most notably in the water itself. A few pounds of waste across a whole recreation area, park, lake, pond, or neighborhood is manageable, but when you take into account that a goose is likely to migrate with a flock, and reproduce by nesting at these bodies of water then we have an immediate bird management problem. Dozens of geese, or even hundreds of geese can migrate together across the continent traveling north in the warmer months and south for the winter. Once they have reached a far enough and satisfactory destination geese will be drawn towards water, usually with shorter grass and vegetation so they’re able to watch for predators. A goose can make a body of water their home during their nesting season, but they have also been known to stay for many months in one area, continuing to return to the same body of water the entire time. This means that a flock of geese may end up contributing hundreds of pounds of fecal waste on a daily basis for months at a time, resulting in thousands of pounds of waste accumulating in the water source. This can have a massive environmental impact, especially if the amount of waste is sustained for longer periods of time. Even when a goose leaves waste on land near water when rain occurs the water runoff will drain toxins into the water making the water even more contaminated. The effects this waste can have varies widely depending on a lot of different circumstances, however it is almost certain the impact will be negative. Goose manure can increase the intensity of algae blooms that can deplete the amount of oxygen present in the water. This lack of oxygen has a negative impact on aquatic life and can even result in the death of fish and other wildlife living in the water. Toxins that may be present create a health risk for other wildlife as they can cause health problems, sometimes even fatal to the fish and other animals dwelling in the water. The waste produced by a goose can contain E. coli, cryptosporidium, salmonella, and other parasites, viruses, and bacterias that are harmful to people, especially when they are spending time in the water itself. In addition to the issues found in geese waste these waterfowl can carry the avian influenza, and while there is still research being done on how this could impact humans it is always best to be cautious when dealing with bacteria, viruses, and parasites. We know that the contaminants from geese waste can be dangerous, especially at high levels, and our team of specialized professionals can work with you to create a plan on pest management for your property.

Water: An Ideal Environment for Geese

Geese are drawn to water and often make the surrounding area around bodies of water their home. They can often be found walking around bodies of water, resting near them, or floating across the surface. Bodies of water provide a great environment for geese as bugs and vegetation are a major part of their diet and these things are often easily found near water. Bodies of water also offer protection from predators, especially in areas that don’t have tall grass. The geese are then able to see their surroundings, and quickly escape into the water if necessary to get away from any predators. Geese very commonly nest close or along the edge of bodies of water. In more dense, urban environments there are less spaces that geese feel safe in so they are even more likely to be drawn to water. Ponds, lakes, parks, etc. typically are surrounded by grass, natural landscaping, and offer a wide open space where geese can water for predators. These man made areas are surrounded by concrete, traffic, and dense population so open bodies of water are a safe haven for these animals.

Goose Pest Control

A goose can be very stubborn and are not easily deterred from returning to the area they have turned into a home, most especially during nesting season when a goose will become very territorial and protective over their nest and eggs. They are unlikely to respond to many gimmicky preventative measures that are marketed towards property owners dealing with infestations like fake alligators or ultrasonic tools meant to scare or keep geese far away. These birds also have federal laws protecting them, so it is highly recommended that property owners not attack the birds or mess with a goose nest. In order to promote water conservation a balanced ecosystem is vital, and we utilize some “training” methods in order to help geese learn to move on from the space they have turned into a home. We utilize highly trained border collies to simulate a predatory attack on a goose without actually hurting them. Our border collies herd the birds in order to make them feel they are being stalked by a predator. In some circumstances they can be trained to leave the property and not return, however some geese can be quite stubborn. We work with homeowners, commercial property owners, and commercial management companies to ensure that even if geese return we can help reduce the time they spend at the property and potentially deter them from returning. Many people, especially in public parks, find feeding geese to be an enjoyable experience. This can seem rather harmless, however making them feel at home and creating a food source for the birds means they will become comfortable and this can make it much more difficult to deter the birds from leaving. Since wildlife have to find all of their meals, accessibility to food is a major draw for them and they will be motivated to stay in the same area for that food, even after the feeding has ceased. In some instances food is such a major draw for these birds they will return to the same area after the migration season or have even been known to remain in the same spot the entire year if they are comfortable with the weather just to continue reaping the benefits of a continuous food source. Feeding birds will also reduce the natural fear they have for humans as potential predators, so they become desensitized to being around or interacting with people. This can become dangerous if they are nesting near spaces where people congregate as they may become aggressive and defensive in protection of their nests. Geese can be a major nuisance for property owners, guests of recreation areas, and homeowners. Our team provides the greater Columbus Ohio area with our expertise in geese control. In serious cases we can make visits to the property more than once each day to make the geese less comfortable so they will flee. If geese are infesting your property and you need help it is better to contact a professional immediately as the longer you wait the more at home the birds will feel and it will make it more difficult to drive the birds away. Contact our team today for more information on how we can rid your property of geese.