June is a busy month for geese. With nesting nearly finished, the birds will search for their summer homes and a safe environment for molting, as well as raising their young.
All geese molt their flight feathers in the summer. This allows them to have a full, brand-new set for migration. While they are molting, geese are grounded and cannot fly.
Our teams work hard to encourage the geese to move offsite before this happens – and to keep them away while molting so the rest of the summer is goose-free. Given their inability to fly during this time, once the geese have left the property, they are unlikely to return until their new flight feathers grow back in late July.
Molted Canada goose flight feathers
Throughout the year, our teams adapt our management of geese to their behavioral patterns, including gosling season. Different geese will respond in unique ways to the approach of gosling and molting season, posing a challenge to even the most tenured wildlife management professionals.
Here’s what to expect during molting and gosling season – and what to do about it.
Adult geese with goslings will protect, raise, and lead their young to good feeding grounds and out of danger. Just like human kids, goslings can have minds of their own, and don’t always follow what mom and dad want.
It can be challenging raising kids, especially in an urban environment with traffic, predators, and humans to contend with. Because goslings can’t fly, parent geese will stick to the ground with their babies, sometimes walking them into dangerous situations. It also means that geese will sometimes nest on or around our clients’ properties given there is less competition for food and space with other geese.
Geese parents will look for areas with lots of food, mown turf, and bodies of water with easy entry access for their goslings to quickly retreat to if a threat appears. When a family shows up, our teams will gently escort them offsite to a different body of water.
Sometimes it takes a few moves for the families to understand that they aren’t welcome. The safety of the birds is our top priority and we may need to wait a few days for a safer time to move them.
Large gang brood of goslings. In three months, these babies will all be adult size pooping machines
Adult geese that failed in nesting, geese that are unpaired, or geese too young to breed (last year’s goslings) will flock up in what we call “pre-molt groups.” With no goslings, territory, or nests to defend, the old rule of safety in numbers applies once again. These groups will be looking for good feeding grounds as they make their way further north, or properties with ample food and large bodies of water, especially rivers, to spend the summer flightless period.
Properties that were empty all spring may suddenly become inundated with large groups of geese that leave behind a big mess! These groups can be stubborn to move, especially if they are thinking of spending the summer hanging out at that site. Heavy harassment with dogs, boats, and lasers is key to encouraging these groups to find a more natural and ‘out of the way place’ to spend the summer.
Pre-molt groups can create a big mess in a short time
Once the molting season is in full swing- usually by the third week of June -things quiet down for most properties.
By then, we have relocated families and pre-molt groups, and the geese have learned that being isolated on this property without flight is not a safe option. This is the time we start focusing more heavily on our river clients. Rivers act like highways for flightless geese, allowing them to easily move from feeding ground to feeding ground while having a safe escape from predators.
Let RAC Help
Now is the time to do something so that you will have a clean, safe, and enjoyable property for the rest of summer. Waiting until the geese have molted will severely limit your options for summer management. Contact us today for a free estimate and move those geese out before it’s too late.