Effectively deterring geese often requires multiple tactics and approaches to address each of their life stages and cycles, or the correct solution for the life stage for which the geese are using your site. The most permanent and effective tactic however is the removal of nesting and forage sites through planting designs.
Arrival/Spring: Geese arrive when ice breaks and waters open. They arrive in southern Ontario therefore in March/April. Geese will land in water first and then walk onto land at this time. They will return to areas close to where they nested previously, and will choose areas with a wide and open view of the landscape - flat open areas so that they can see predators. Open areas make them feel safe. Scouts will tell the colony that the site is safe. They are the opposite of ducks, who like to have good hiding areas in order to nest.
This is the only time geese are vulnerable to scare tactics.
Nesting and Goslings/Summer: Once geese have nested, they will defend their territory and will not respond to scare tactics. They can actually be highly aggressive. When the young hatch they can walk, eat and swim almost immediately, but they cannot fly. Geese will forage in groups and not leave their young throughout this stage, and it is the stage where the most environmental damage occurs. Removing or limiting aspects of forage and safety by altering habitat is essential for deterring geese at this point.
Flight: Once the young can fly towards late August, geese will rotate to different areas providing high nutrients to generate fat stores towards migration.
Nuisance geese are usually resident geese that return to the same areas that they were born, rather than migrating to the north. Geese are naturally Tundra species. Human habitat alteration and development mimics the Tundra landscape, but providing far more opportunities for safe nesting without the predators from the north, and with better choice food sources of fertilized lawns that have high carbohydrates. Geese will have chosen the area because of these features. Therefore, sites that are attractive to these geese lack biodiversity, structure and environmental function, and are not attractive to native plants, birds and insects.
A goose releases one pound of guano per day, therefore the presence of geese is not only a deterrent to human use and enjoyment of an area, but is an environmental and health hazard.
Geese are highly intelligent and colony species. They are also highly adaptable.