Ohio reports increase in Canada geese population


First Posted: 3/9/2015

DAYTON (AP) — The number of Canada geese in Ohio has increased in recent years, and so have complaints about the birds, according to the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

The state’s Canada geese population is about 130,000, the Dayton Daily News reported (http://bit.ly/194GDPu). That number has more than doubled in the past two decades and is expected to keep growing.

The abundance of water and grass coupled with a lack of natural predators make Ohio an ideal place for the geese to thrive. Many geese — the ones that stick around in the summer months — have stopped migrating, wildlife officials said.

The increase in the geese in Ohio has been most notable in urban areas, said Brett Beatty of the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

“They’re fairly tolerant of people and can use a wide variety of habitat folks create,” he said. “Anyplace that has water and a manicured lawn has Canada geese.”

But the owners of those manicured lawns aren’t always pleased. The state has logged more than 2,000 online complaints about the geese in the past two years. In 1990, the state received less than 100 complaints.

Residents and business owners say the large birds and their droppings wreak havoc on walkways, grass and landscaping. Some complain that the geese become aggressive toward people when building nests and protecting their goslings.

Many states including Ohio launched programs to save the geese 60 years ago, when they were thought to be nearly extinct. Now there’s an estimated 1.5 million Canada geese in the Mississippi Flyway, which spans from southern Canada to Alabama. A 2014 U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service report said that’s considered “an over-abundant population.”

Mike Enright with Five Rivers MetroParks in the Dayton area said it’s important to find a balance between people and geese.

“When people start to dislike wildlife, that’s a problem,” he said. “We want to minimize the conflict between people and geese so they can appreciate that we still have them around.”

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