Canada geese are common in much of North America. Unfortunately, they have proven to be extremely adaptable and highly persistent throughout the country especially in urban areas where there are few predators, prohibitions on hunting, and a dependable year-round supply of food and water. Though pleasant for city dwellers, more lawns, golf courses, and parks offer Canada geese a reliable habitat that encourages them to stay year-round instead of migrating.
The Scioto Mile’s project planners were aware of the potential issue and took measures to mitigate the geese from the earliest days of design and construction, including:
– Grasses and shrubs were planted to create a barrier between geese and lawn grass, which is their main source of nutrition. These plants may take some time to mature into an effective prevention tool since they have been recently planted.
– Trees have been planted and as they grow larger they will become more of a deterrent to the geese direct line of flight from the river to grassy areas.
– Shrubs, aquatic plants, and closely spaced groups of trees were strategically placed to block the birds’ pathways to grazing areas and safety, and reduce the birds’ sight lines to 30 feet which rouses their fear of confinement.
Discouraging Food Supply
Our team at Columbus Recreation and Parks will continue to do our best to keep the geese at bay while adhering to the terms of the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act and Ohio state law protecting waterfowl, but we need your help to discourage their presence on the Scioto Mile.
First and foremost, please DO NOT feed the geese. Waterfowl have amazing survival skills, but feeding them can cause issues such as food dependency, aggressive behavior, disease, delayed migration, and many other cumulative problems.
We want you to enjoy the park, so we ask that you please dispose of trash. It may be hard to imagine, but that stray French fry or leftover sandwich crumbs add to the problem. Compound that with another visitor’s abandoned food waste and it becomes a major issue for both the geese and park visitors.
Cleaning Up After Geese
Columbus Recreation and Parks recognize that cohabitating with Canada geese can be a nuisance and we’re working diligently to limit their effect on the Scioto Mile. While paths are swept multiple times per week to clear the droppings, we recognize that the geese return to the area creating a continual issue for park guests. (A single goose can defecate every 20 minutes up to 1.5 pounds each day.) The Columbus Recreation and Parks Department is working to make best use of our resources to address ongoing clean-up.
For more information on the Canada goose:
National Geographic: Canada Goose
Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife: Living with Wildlife
The Humane Society of the United States: Solving Problems with Canada Geese