Canada Goose

About

The Canada goose (Branta canadensis) is a common native bird species in New Jersey. Traditionally, Canada geese were a migratory waterfowl species, migrating to Canada each spring to nest and raise their young and only residing in New Jersey from October to March. The release of captive geese in the 1930s led to the formation of a non-migratory group in the eastern United States. These “resident” geese remain in New Jersey year-round and breed in the early spring. This highly adaptable species thrives in human-altered landscapes and is quite fond of the abundant manicured lawns found in New Jersey’s suburbs and parks.

Concerns

When present in large numbers, resident Canada geese can result in adverse impacts including damage to grass from overgrazing and trampling, health risks, quality of life impacts, and increased maintenance costs. Canada geese can also be aggressive towards park users.

Mitigation

Over the years the MCPC has taken a number of steps to reduce the prevalence of resident Canada geese in the parks. Efforts have mainly focused on habitat modification in the form of pond side plantings and un-mowed grass buffers. Geese find mowed grass right up to the edge of a water body to be excellent habitat so these types of modifications can help deter them. Other techniques to deter geese that are used on a site-by-site basis include pyrotechnic scare devices, fencing, and mylar tape. Staff also performs nest management in accordance with US Fish and Wildlife Service regulations. Canada Geese will always be a natural component of our parks but limiting their negative impacts is the goal of our integrated program.

Canada geese migrating in the Fall of the year

Canada geese migrating in the Fall of the year