One of my two businesses is working with the wild Canada geese who come into conflict with human neighbours. This time of year, ganders can be aggressive as they are protecting the hens as they sit on their nests for two weeks hatching eggs.
Saint Louis Magazine's May 2012 issue just came to me in the mail and there is an article in it on my dogs' work with the Canada geese. The interview and work was done at Bellefontaine Cemetery, which is one of my most sacred places on earth.
We spend hours there alone, working and wandering among the outdoor, historical art works and beautiful arboretum. Whatever stresses or problems I might be feeling fade away in that serene space. If you have not visited, please do–they were planning on starting new guided tours in April. I will blog more information soon. If you do go up, drop by the office and ask if I am there, I would love to meet the Patch readers.
If your place of business or home complex is bothered by aggressive ganders right now, there are several things you can do. Barricades around the gander and nest, in the form of snow fencing or parking cones, can create a safety zone for the gander to relax. Carrying any umbrella helps by making you appear larger–this is why the gander spreads his wings. It can also used to deflect any blows headed your way. Do not run, appear tall, and watch where you are going.
Most injuries occur when people are caught by a surprise goose or fall over something they did not see. Hanging a sign notifying people where a goose is nesting is very helpful if she has concealed her nest, although many nest in parking islands, planter boxes near doorways, and on roof tops, where the gander will appear below.
You can provide water if the nest is in the hot sun but food should not be provided as this can create more conflict with humans in other areas of interaction. She does come off the nest at least once daily to defecate, feed herself, and drink. She is a wild animal and has chosen this site for a reason and did not need our help when she was considering her options.
If someone insists on trying to feed the hen, please inform them of several things. White bread, bread in general, and popcorn or potato chips are very harmful to geese, but are the most popular things given. Feeding them decreases their natural fear of humans, and can cause them to frequent play ground and picnic areas, soiling the walking areas and scaring people. This can lead to a call for their destruction. Finally, food left on the nest site overnight draws the attention of predators and endangers the hen's life, as well as the survival of her eggs.
If professional assistance is desired, there are three other companies in the area besides my own that employ professionally trained herding border collies to herd the geese away from the problem areas.
These dogs should be highly trained to not harm the geese and to work safely in public among such considerations as fearful humans (not everybody likes dogs, especially those running off leash) and traffic hazards.
So let me know what you think of the most beautiful dogs in the world, and tell me how much you love the geese!
WyndSong Border Collies and Canada Goose Management