Geese are getting more and more used to the human and human environment. This includes new housing development, lawn and landscaping noises, and even domesticated pets. During the spring nesting season geese become extremely aggressive as they protect their eggs, nest and territory. Several people have been attacked by geese that are nesting.
Generally, the goose (female) will be on the nest but the gosling (male) will be near by, usually no further away than 20 feet, and will hurry back to the nest if he sees his mate and territory is being threatened.
The best thing to do is to avoid the nest and goose by going around it or maybe taking another direction. If there is a goose outside of a business that you work that refuses to let you get to the main door, then go in through another door to avoid confrontation.
If you encounter an aggressive goose, it’s best to do the following:
Do not turn your back on an aggressive goose. Maintain direct eye contact and keep your chest and face pointed at the goose.
Calmly and slowly back away.
Maintain a neutral demeanor, i.e. do not act hostile or show fear.
If a goose flies toward your face duck and move at a right angle to the direction of flight while maintaining your front toward the goose.
One way to deter geese from hanging out in your neighborhood is to make it unappealing for them.
Do not feed geese. When they are fed by humans the fear of humans diminish and this will cause greater attacks from geese.
Don’t give them shelter. Geese won’t migrate to an area that has a lot of bushes and trees surrounding a pond or home. They’ll be too afraid that predators are hiding in the brush.
Reduce or eliminate their food source. They are mostly attracted to golf courses and airport yards; especially when they are freshly mowed. These areas give the geese an all-you-can-eat buffet. One type of deterrent is to use methyl anthranilate which is a grape flavoring in our food after your lawn is freshly mowed. This stuff tastes terrible to geese.
Geese are federally protected which means that it is illegal to harm geese, their eggs, or their nests in the US without permission from the US Fish and Wild Service. Geese can be scared away, humanely, using loud noises or by trained goose-herding dogs. However, trying to scare them away during their nesting season is a bad idea! They will become more aggressive and likely attack.
If there are any issues with geese nesting in a populated area or being aggressive, you can contact NC Wildlife for the best advice on how to handle or relocate them.
Links of Interest:
NC Wildlife - Coexisting with Canadian Geese
For hunting information, visit NC Wildlife - Hunting
HSUS on Canadian Geese
Goose Conflict Manual
More info from Carolina Waterfowl Rescue