Resident Canada Goose Management
2023 Update - Geese Egg Oiling in Greenwich - Program Registration & Authorization
The window for egg oiling is now CLOSED for the 2023 season.
PLEASE do NOT feed the waterfowl, especially on Town properties
Update: August 1, 2022
Canada Geese (Branta canadensis) were abundant in Connecticut during colonial times, principally as a migrant species. Unregulated hunting and market hunting in the 1700s and 1800s caused a population decline. However, protective measures in the early 1900s gradually reversed this trend. Releases of geese by game breeders, sportsmen, private groups, and the State Board of Fisheries and Game resulted in an established resident population that eventually spread throughout the state. Currently, Canada geese nest statewide, with the highest populations occurring in the 3 most urbanized counties (Fairfield, Hartford, and New Haven counties).
Waterfowl are wild birds that can locate natural food sources throughout the year. Supplemental feeding by people is unnecessary and potentially harmful. Feeding creates numerous problems, not only for people, but also for the birds. Well-intentioned people erroneously believe that feeding is beneficial to waterfowl, but it often has negative ecological, environmental, and social consequences. Feeding not only attracts birds to an area, but keeps them there. Feeding also conditions the birds to lose their fear of humans. Simply discontinuing feeding can go a long way in ending goose habituation to an area.
The DEEP Wildlife Division has developed a “Do Not Feed Waterfowl pamphlet” that outlines the detrimental effects on feeding Canada geese and other waterfowl.
Ongoing Mill Pond project:
The Town of Greenwich in partnership with neighborhood groups, installed temporary mesh netting to discourage Canada geese. Every year from March to April, Canada geese form pairs to look for nesting areas. Then from June through to early August, geese undergo an annual molt, a 4 to 6-week flightless period when they shed and re-grown their outer wing feathers. During both the nesting and molting periods, geese congregate at ponds or lakes, like Mill Pond. We’re installed temporary fencing to discourage geese from using Mill Pond Park during these periods.
The Town of Greenwich takes a proactive approach to mitigating the negative impacts of overabundant resident Canada goose populations. Resident Canada geese are distinct from Migratory geese in that they do not fly north to Canada to nest. Resident populations have become established in the U.S. since the 1950s. Resident Canada geese are attracted to properties with open grassy areas near water features such as many town parks, athletic fields, corporate campuses, schools, and residential lawns.
Three-Part Approach to Manage Goose Population
The Conservation Commission uses a three-part approach to control the resident Canada goose population which includes:
- Stabilizing the population
- Hazing geese on certain high-use or environmentally-sensitive properties
- Reaching out to residents about the Commission’s population stabilization program and educating the public about problems with feeding geese
Stabilizing the Population
To help stabilize the population, Conservation Commission staff and volunteers apply vegetable oil to goose eggs on predetermined properties during their nesting season which typically occurs late March through early May. Egg oiling is considered the most humane and effective method of stabilizing the resident goose population.
Next, the Conservation Commission has contracted GeesePeace to regularly deploy trained dogs to haze geese on certain town parks. The dogs do not harm the geese, but continually harass them, causing them to seek another area where they will not be disturbed.
Education & Outreach
The Conservation Commission staff conducts education and outreach activities each year. The town advertises the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) permit program which private property owners can participate in to control resident Canada geese on their property. Conservation staff also provides training to interested residents on proper egg oiling protocols.
Finally, signs discouraging the public from feeding geese and ducks are strategically posted around town. Geese and ducks that are fed nutritionally deficient food, such as bread, may be more susceptible to disease and malnutrition.
For more information about how the Town of Greenwich manages its resident Canada geese, please contact a Conservation Department Staff member at 203-622-6461. Additional information about the USFWS Resident Canada Goose Nest and Egg Registration program is available on the Resident Canada Goose Registration.