Clients often ask when they can expect to require goose management services in the spring. They are often surprised when we suggest beginning our humane dog patrols as early as March. Many clients who have yet to see geese on their property don’t see the merit in beginning goose management services so early in the season, but we recommend it for two reasons. One, if you have seen geese on your property in previous seasons you’re almost guaranteed to see them again this season at some point. Two, the phrase ‘the best defense is a good offense’ certainly applies to Canada geese. When we can get out to a property and spot the geese within a day or two of them migrating into the area, they are much easier to remove and keep away for the rest of the season.
For more information on why you should consider starting goose management in the spring, I’ve created a list of the month by month behaviors of geese in Minnesota.
November – March
Canada geese are rarely present in Minnesota during these months because they have migrated to warmer southern states. Driven Wild Goose Control does not perform harassment work from the end of November through early to mid-March.
Geese start popping up in Minnesota in the month of March after completing their northern migration. They will generally return to the same area each year. When a gosling is hatched in an area, that area becomes ingrained in the gosling’s mind. Without being harassed or hunted out of the area, they will likely return year after year. This is why it’s very important to start goose management early in the spring. When we bring the dogs out only days after the geese have arrived, it is much easier to modify their behaviors and get them out of the area before they begin nesting.
By April, many geese and their mates have begun building a nest and laying eggs. They generally incubate the eggs through the month of April before hatching in late April or early May. During this time we cannot humanely harass the geese away from their nest.
Our team has developed strategies for minimizing the impact of nesting geese. For example, we can use egg depredation tactics to prevent the eggs from developing into goslings. Since each nest has anywhere from 5-12 eggs, this can prevent the goose population on your property from getting out of control quickly. The eggs are tested prior to being addled, so only eggs that are not yet viable are addled with oil. This is considered a humane nest management approach; it is one method recommended by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. We do not destroy nests or remove eggs because, in addition to the practice being inhumane, the geese are likely to quickly rebuild their nests in the same area. Females can continue to lay eggs if the first nest has been destroyed. It’s better to wait for the geese to realize the eggs are not hatching and then redouble our harassment efforts to get them off the property.
May is the prime time for spring goose management. Geese that have not hatched goslings can still be harassed off of the property easily through the month of May and into June (at which point they will begin molt). If the geese have hatched goslings on the property, they are quite difficult to humanely manage. This is why we recommend all our clients begin harassment efforts before the geese have a chance to build their nest in early April. However, if there are goslings on your property we may be able to use safe methods to deter them from congregating in high traffic areas until their flight feathers come in and they can be removed for good.
In early to mid-June, the adult geese mold. This means they lose some of their feathers and are unable to fly for about a month. If the adult geese have goslings, the goslings are also unable to fly until about mid July when they are 8 to 12 weeks old.
Half of July is not workable due to the geese being in molt. They can be herded from one area to another, but they cannot fly away and therefore cannot be completely removed from the property. Towards the middle or end of July the geese will have regrown their flying feathers, and we are able to begin harassment once again.
August – November
By August, all geese and goslings can fly and move freely from property to property. This begins our late summer and fall harassment efforts. You may see a small uptick in the geese on your property in these months as new geese fly in and try to claim your property as their new home. However, these geese do not have the property imprinted on them since birth in the same way that spring geese do, so they are generally easier to remove with harassment efforts. This is why we generally enter a “maintenance phase” with our clients during these months, with the timing depending on when harassment work was started initially.
As geese begin to migrate late in the season, they may fly through an area for only a day or two at a time and can be easily removed. By about early to mid-November, you will likely stop seeing any geese in the area as most have completed their migration south for the winter.
Get Ahead of Nuisance Geese in Minnesota
If you’ve seen nuisance geese on your property in past seasons, the best way to prevent them from coming back is through Driven Wild Goose Control’s goose management services. We bring our highly trained dogs out early in the season, so we’ll spot geese shortly after they arrive and drive them away from your property.
Do you currently have geese or goslings on your property? Driven Wild can create a Minnesota goose management program that takes into account our climate and where geese are at in their migration or nesting cycle. Give us a call at 612-405-0568 or contact us here to get started.