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Published on: Feb. 2, 1998

Last revision: Oct. 28, 2010

except when they are incubating eggs. You can't declare all-out war, but you may use the following: fireworks, gas exploders, firearms, pistol-launched whistle bombs, balloons, flags, reflective tape, swan or eagle decoys, spotlights and Canada goose distress tapes.

  • Don't forget to alert the police and your neighbors, or you may be explaining your tactics to a judge. Another note: If using firearms, make sure it is legal to discharge them within your city limits. Shoot in a safe direction and don't fire directly at the problem birds.
  • Hunt in season, if the law allows it. Although many urban and residential areas do not allow shooting firearms, some permit bow hunting.
  • Create physical barriers that obstruct the flightless goslings' path from the shore to the water. A low fence at the water's edge may discourage geese from nesting. A grid of monofilament line placed over a pond can keep geese from landing on the water.
  • If you try the above methods and the population of geese continues to grow, the federal government may issue you permits to treat eggs in a nest so they won't develop into goslings. This can be done by coating the eggs with oil or by shaking them. Completely removing the eggs doesn't work because the geese most likely will renest.
  • Shaking eggs isn't for the faint of heart, however. Bruce Manning, supervisor of water quality control for St. Louis County, is in charge of controlling the goose population at a water treatment plant. At 5 a.m. he arrives and dons his egg-shaking outfit-an industrial hard hat and safety glasses. He parks his car within 50 feet of the nest, in case he needs to make a hasty retreat.

    Sometimes he is lucky, and the geese are off the nest. When they aren't, he brandishes his 8-foot piece of 1-inch PVC tube pipe with a large paper towel taped to the end. When the gander attacks, Manning holds the pipe under one arm like a joust and places the other end on the gander's chest, holding the bird at bay while he slips his other hand under the hissing, biting female and quickly grabs each egg and shakes it vigorously.

    Is it worth it? Yes, says Manning. The same geese return each year, but they haven't reproduced for several years.

    When confronted with the prospect of shaking eggs, many urban landowners quickly suggest relocation instead. But this solution doesn't work well with migratory birds that

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