Posted in Birds

So Many Canada Geese

I have had the good fortune of vacationing in Canada on a couple of occasions, and one thing that became immediately clear to me is that Ohio has way more Canada Geese than Canada has. It’s possible to go an entire day in Canada and not even see a Canada Goose. Let’s see you manage that in Ohio!

Given that Ohio appears to be the center of the Canada Geese population, I suggest that we rename them Ohio Geese, or since Ohioans go by the nickname, “Buckeyes,” maybe we could call them Buckeye Geese.

Canada goose portrait

Canada geese stop traffic as they “migrate” across the road.
Canada geese wintering in their favorite habitat, a local baseball diamond
Canada geese leave their mark on a bike path near a pond
A cormorant becomes uneasy as a “gang” of Canada geese encircle his roost.

My community in Central Ohio has developed many sports fields for our citizens’ recreational use. But almost all of them were taken over by our huge population of Canada geese. Finally enough was enough, and the city hired a local entrepreneur to rid the parks of their Canada geese infestation.

The entrepreneur has trained his border collies to chase Canada geese on command. Twice a week he brings his dogs to the parks at random times, and his border collies run toward the geese, encouraging them to take flight and go elsewhere. The city has hired this service for the entire breeding season to prevent the geese from nesting on or near the recreational fields. It’s been two years now since the city hired the border collie service, and the border collies have been remarkably successful at reducing, if not eliminating, the Canada geese on our athletic fields. Now when a baseball player slides into third base, his slide is not lubricated by goose droppings.

Photo courtesy of Lenkahol, license: Public Domain

Border Collie to the rescue!

Because Canada geese in town have become such a nuisance, I sometimes forget what an attractive bird they are. They’re a pleasure to see when they are found in a more natural setting.

Canada goose in a wetland

While we were visiting Wahkeena Nature Preserve, I also enjoyed seeing a mother goose round-up her goslings to protect them from a “threat” (I was the threat; I was just looking at them. ).

Mother urges her goslings to get in the pond.
Mom leads the way!
Finally the family is on its way.

Well that concludes my tales of woe about our Canada geese population explosion. If you think that I am slighting your homeland, and that Buckeye geese should really be called Michigan geese or even Dutch geese, let me know in the comments. And if any Canadian happens to read this, I beg you, please, come get your geese.

© Deborah Platt, Robert Platt and 2012 to 2021

16 thoughts on “So Many Canada Geese

  1. I don’t think there will be “too many” Canada geese in Ohio soon. All the negative news stories and people provoking them, then taking photos or Youtube videos, to slander the gander has caused a free-for-all rounding up/egg depradation situation here (I don’t even know where they’re disappearing to in Cincinnati). Whether they’re legal local extirpations or people taking matters into their own hands I don’t know, but the empty nests and distressed birds here this spring are sad to see.

  2. Hello from Belgium! Nice (euhhh…) to read we have similar problems with these geese… Last year, hundreds of them were put to sleep here since the region they had taken in could not cope with their high number and since they were themselves chasing all other birds. Chasing them away with a dog would not help much, Belgium being such a small country 😉 But I do prefer your method! The poor animals were introduced here long time ago and now with their growing numbers our country is too small to offer them a safe life and place. Shameful, really…
    Thanks for the wonderful pictures on all subjects!

  3. We have our fair share of Canada geese in Indiana as well! Lovely in the water but nasty on the ground. I also love to watch them in flight. As for the border collie, one of the best dogs I ever had!

    1. Sheila, are you suggesting that we call them Indiana geese? LOL. My neighbor had this genius border collie. When the propane hose of their gas grill gave way and the fire was outside of the grill, the dog helped push the kids over the fence to get them away from the fire. When one of their hamsters escaped into the backyard, he found it and put it back in its living quarters. He was just an amazing animal.

      1. No, on the geese; our border collie would herd my toddling son away from the road and back within a safe distance from our house! We also had a frog pond in the yard and Holly would steer him away from it. It was amazing to watch her work!

  4. I have a love/hate relationship with geese. Probably because when I was growing up there were so few and it was a treat to see and hear them. Then Ohio “protected” them a little too well! Have you noticed some of them don’t even fly south anymore? I see them on frozen ponds, have no idea what they eat in the winter. They are a beautiful bird and their babies are so cute but we regularly curse them when our bike path looks like your photo!

    1. Sally, good point about them being protected too well. We lived near a wetland when I was growing up in Pennsylvania. The local park ranger re-introduced Canada geese to the area that had been incubated from eggs. Since they didn’t know their geese parents, they were never taught to migrate south. I’m guessing Ohio did something similar. However since their population doesn’t seem to dwindle from overwintering here, I guess they really didn’t need to migrate.

      I see the geese continuing to eat grass in fields and lawns in the winter (my photo of them in the baseball diamond was a winter shot; you can see patches of snow in the background). However when there is lots of snow I don’t know what they end up eating.

  5. Haha!… beautiful photos and a funny story. I actually love birds and had pet ducks at one time. That was in the “pre-taking so many photos” days when my children were very young. I can understand how too many of something can not be so good. 🙂

    1. I’m glad that you enjoyed my story, Carol. 🙂 I grew up in rural Pennsylvania. When I was young we had chickens… however, we ate them.

      When our daughter was little, we regularly walked to a local pond with stale bread to feed the ducks there. It was fun. I think I took zillions of photos of our daughter, Dee, when she was little, but that was in pre-digital times. It’s only in the past few years I’ve been taking lots of nature photos during our hikes. The great thing about going digital is that you can experiment, and if it turns out badly, you can just toss it out… no charge for developing film.

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