LIMA — As of Monday afternoon, the City of Lima counted 38 geese in city parks. There would be more, but city park rangers shot lasers at them.
According to Allen County Wildlife Officer Craig Barr, geese don’t like lasers.
Barr visited the Lima Rotary Club Monday afternoon to speak on geese harassment methods and explained how to keep a check on the birds, a reoccurring problem for the city.
As spring arrives, geese often become a problem as they travel to the region to nest. Without harassment, they tend to settle down and nest within urban areas, which have no natural predators for the birds. Within a five to seven-year period, a mostly monogamous couple of geese can expand their family to over 100 birds, Barr said.
Outside of expansion, geese can also cause public safety problems. Male geese tend to be territorial and may attack humans if they get too close to a nest. The city has tracked two such attacks in the last year, although no injuries were reported recently.
And then there’s the goose poop problem. Barr said geese can defecate up to 1.5 pounds a day, which can cause water quality problems.
To stem such difficulties, the city harasses the birds with lasers, which causes them to fly off. Such methods have helped reduce the goose population by over 100 geese.
Kohli said the goal is to keep the geese from getting comfortable in the parks, and consistent lasering keeps them from nesting near Schoonover Lake and the Ottawa River.
“As humans and wildlife intermingle, we tend to run into some issues,” Barr said. “Harassing them gives them a reason to leave.”
If goose populations get out of hand, there are more extensive methods available although state permits are required. With the right paperwork, individuals can shake goose eggs to stop gestation or shoot the birds. In extreme problems, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Division, will approve permits to round-up the birds and euthanize large populations.
As for homeowners, consistent harassment is the simplest way to keep geese moving. Barr suggested both auditory and visual harassment methods, such as loud bangs or scarecrows. Lasers fall under visual harassment.
Other options also include specialized walls and nets that prevent geese from landing in waterways. Chemicals can also be used, but they tend to be a more expensive option.
Barr said the No. 1 rule, however, when it comes to geese management is to make sure individuals aren’t feeding the birds. Free food attracts geese, and it also causes health problems for the birds.
“Don’t feed them,” Barr said. “It doesn’t do anybody good. It gives them a reason to not fear humans.”
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.