Geese management: 'They have brains the size of walnuts and are just as hard to crack'

·2 min read

Canada Geese with are becoming a nuisance on city trails, council was told, and city staff aim to add geese management options to their growing list of 2021 budget considerations.

“They have brains the size of walnuts and they are about just as hard to crack and they are in it for the long haul,” Dan Hicks, the city's director of parks, told council during a committee of the whole meeting Monday.

The geese were sent to New Brunswick from Toronto during Frank McKenna’s tenure as premier to help the recreational hunting industry, Hicks said, but now they are becoming a nuisance, creating debris from feathers to feces along urban trails, he said.

The city has researched several “geese management” options, he said, which range from accepting that geese are here and focus on cleaning up what they leave behind or focus on trying to get rid of geese altogether, he said.

Other ideas include changing the vegetative growth around water areas; installation of fencing that would prevent baby geese from reaching the water and encourage mothers to nest somewhere else; geese lights, which essentially gives geese insomnia by turning on every few seconds at eye level; sweepers and blowers to clean up debris left by geese; and trained dogs to chase away geese.

But most methods don’t work long-term, Hicks said, noting a life-like looking coyote decoy which the geese soon realized wasn't real.

“They are very persistent,” said Hicks. “You may gain some control, but they do have wings and they know how to use them.”

He recommended tackling geese management before they nest to try and reduce the population to make it a bit smaller next year.

Council voted unanimously to include information related to goose management in 2021 budget deliberations.

Clara Pasieka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal