Geese are beautiful and quirky creatures. However, they can cause damage to your property, among other things. There are humane ways to scare geese away. Even if you think some of the suggestions out there are a bit silly, they work.
Geese are like any other bird when in flight and look for certain terrain to call home for their food and nesting. You can scare them away by using holographic pinwheels. The pinwheels will throw off their vision with by reflecting bright light in their eyes so they can’t find a landing spot.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about scaring away geese with simple garden decoration. Let’s get to it!
Why Do I Need To Keep Geese Away?
We’ll try and make this as polite as possible. Ok, well, maybe we can’t. So, here it is.
Geese Leave TONS of Droppings
No, we mean they really — they drop it like its hot, unfortunately. I.5 pounds of it daily, to be exact. Geese fly in a gaggle. So, say there are six geese. Multiply 1.5 x 6 and you have 9lbs daily in your yard.
Not to mention that geese are dirty
Here’s an interesting study done by was done by the Berryman Institute on the Evaluation of foliar sprays to reduce crop damage by Canada geese? on just what types of large-scale damage are done by geese all over the world!
Geese are Aggressive
Male geese are aggressive because they are in protective mode. Their mates goslings and hatchlings are fiercely protected. If you walk anywhere near their nesting or mating area, they’ll ‘goose’ you.
Many years ago, possibly in your grandparent’s time people would call pinching someone’s behind–goosing– or ‘getting goosed’. That’s because the goose likes to go for anything at eye level that is easily reached with a beak.
Granted, a lot of geese will fly away depending on the area you see them (they’re more timid in rural areas.) If it’s an urban goose, you’d be better to stay away.
Geese Like to Eat your Lawn
Your lawn takes a lot of money and maintenance to keep it from turning brown via weather and pests. The last thing you need is geese eating your lawn.
Its naturally part of their grazing habits, but you generally will have to treat your grass with chemicals to stop them which isn’t totally worth it most of the time.
Geese can Bring Down a Plane
According to a National Geographic article, geese are what brought down the famous US Airways flight that flew into geese and had to crash land on the Hudson River!
Yes, the plane literally flew into a flock of Canadian geese which in turn, disrupted the engine and brought the entire plane down.
Now, this is more or less just bad luck but still – I have a personal vendetta against geese after seeing them in our lawn every season for years.
What Attracts Geese To Your Property In The First Place?
Before you can solve the problem more completely, in the case of pinwheels only solving half the issue, you should know why the geese may be attracted to your property.
It’s good to know that most geese don’t mind people. They aren’t routinely harmed by folks so they just coexist.
Your Lawn is a Fantastic Food Source
This is a confusing one for most people. These birds don’t hunt, they graze. So if you have seeds, weeds, worms, roots, or grain then you’ve got a buffet fit for a goose. They also like oats and corn and all that comes from a farm.
The next issue is your pond or lake. Yes, they love aquatic plants too. They eat like cranes do in that case.
One of the biggest issues besides the grazing damage is the fact that they graze and drop simultaneously.
Yeah… they’re good at that – it’s a talent.
Short/Well-Fertilized Grass Can Attract Geese
Taking care of your lawn is what they like. A nice damp, short, and well-fertilized lawn is a friendly place to graze easily.
You will add extra nutrition to the lawn when you fertilize. So, the time of year to skip that is mid-summer.
Allow your grass to grow at least a couple of inches more than normal at those times of the year or until the geese issue is solved and they’ve left the property for good.
Geese Are Attracted To Ponds
A pond or a small lake on the property offers the geese all they need to live and be happy in one space.
Aquatic plants, grasses, and aquatic life are part of their diet. They are primarily herbivores and avid insect and worm eaters, but there are times they will eat fish.
A bit more on the pond scenario, I grew up with a 1.5 acre bass pond at our property where geese HEAVILY frequented. Let me tell you, the grazing and dropping is no joke. Our ultimate solution was training the dog to chase them off.
If you have a similar issue, take a look at our piece on keeping geese away from your pond for more info!
How To Use Pinwheels To Scare Geese away
One disclaimer before we explain this very simple way of scaring geese away. There is no guarantee that this one thing will scare your geese away for good. It depends on your particular infiltration of geese.
It also depends on the habitat on your property. That’s why we are informing you on other things including habitat modification which we will get to later.
Choose A Holographic Pinwheel
You can use the normal pinwheels you find in a garden shop, However you can get a potentially more effective holographic pinwheel called the Bird Blinder online.
So, why holographic? Geese and most other birds can be thrown off their trajectory by reflective light. We’ll go into other things you can do later on with the same concept. As we said already, you will probably have to incorporate a lot of other methods until you find the sweet spot.
The pinwheels will spin with the wind. That in itself may be an issue if you don’t have wind. They act like a turbine. However, as the geese fly by, the sun can reflect off the holographic materials on the pinwheels.
To use them most effectively, place them in a wide enough area so that the geese get the shine from all angles. You want to make sure they think they have nowhere to hide from it. Therefore, they won’t bother to return.
If you place them in one spot only, they’ll just ignore it. We’ll tell you truthfully that geese are pretty streetwise and will quickly get used to what you are doing.
So, to counter that you’ll have to put in a little work and move the pinwheels or other deterrents around every couple of days or so.
It’s all about experimentation and confusing the bird enough that they give up without doing them any harm.
Pros and Cons of using Pinwheels to Scare Geese Away
- It scares geese away if used consistently. Rotate them in a wide area. Adjust as needed.
- They can be a durable product if you get the right type. Make sure they aren’t cheap garden decor. You could, but you’ll spend just as much replacing them so splurge a little for your cause.
- They will scare away other birds as well. You have the same or similar issues with other birds like droppings, uncleanliness, and eating the lawn or plants. So, it’s getting two birds with one stone!
- If you have too large a property you’ll need too many. It may not be worth it because you’ll need more equipment to meet the need.
- If you live in a still area that has not much more than an occasional breeze, we’ll honestly say that you may be wasting time and money with this method.
Ok, so you know how to use pinwheels to scare away geese, let’s get into what else you can do and some habitat modification.
How To Scare Geese Away Using Habitat Modification
Your land is their habitat for many reasons. Modification can be something of a task. They love so many things in a common lawn that it’s near impossible to change everything, without changing the face of your yard.
Truthfully, keeping geese away is challenging. Especially if you have a special lawn or garden where you have landscaped to your liking.
You may have to experiment a lot and then plan. Decide what you are willing to sacrifice and what is a deal-breaker.
Here are some basic long-term tips to keep geese away:
- Remove reeds and plants: To understand the concept you must understand what geese look for in a nesting space. Any secure area to hide their nests and young will attract them. The more devoid the area is of vegetation, the better.
- Remove the food source: This one is the most challenging. You could try a couple of things first. Increase the angle of the ground from the water to the land so that it’s not easy for them to maneuver.
- Install small gates: Small two-foot gates under the water if it’s legal should be placed in the water on your property. This advice is for those who have tall grasses and lawns or plants they don’t want to modify or can’t for whatever reason. The geese will not be able to get to a nesting area and the water and food supply. So, they move on.
Use a motion-activated water sprinkler: I really love this method for gardens and smaller areas. The idea here is that the water sprinkler will spray the geese (and other critters) as they enter a targeted area, which scares them away using a simple blast of water. Check out the Orbit 62100 Yard Enforcer for a great option.
Making these small modifications can help to deter the geese along with the pinwheels and other things we’ll suggest.
Other Practical ways to Deter Geese
The main points to deterring geese or any bird are to discourage them from nesting and feeding as well as disrupt their sense of direction.
You can do this by habitat modification and by irritating their senses; namely vision and hearing. If they’re irritated–they move on. It’s that simple.
However, you have to get around the streetwise of the goose and the gander. That can be difficult. If you have a prime piece of real estate that’s attractive to them, they’ll get around you as well as you do them.
If you are interested in learning more ways to deter geese, consider reading our article about the things that geese hate!
Think of it as a game and you’re in a race to outsmart the bird before they outsmart you.
Ok, so how do you deter geese other than pinwheels and habitat modification?
Flashing Lights and Reflector Tape
Blinking lights placed around the property that are clip-on or portable in some way would do the trick.
That with some reflector tape on the roof helps too. Just keep in mind that blinking lights also need to move around every few days.
You may want to try to put them on something you can wheel around to different ends of the property if it’s not too big and rotate them. After a few weeks, they’ll get the hint that they can’t figure you out so can say bye bye birdie!
You can try a set of solar-powered one-spike flashers. They can be uprooted easily and repositioned anywhere on the property.
Predator Decoys Can Deter Geese
Swans go after geese while coyotes, owls and dogs also pose a threat.
Now, you can get fake ones or, if you are on a big enough property and the birds are on your nerves, work to train your dog to chase them. It seriously works!
As for the fakes. These are effective if again, you move them around. Don’t DIY them because you may not get them to look realistic enough. If you leave them in one place, the bird is smart enough to know it ain’t real so they’re sticking around.
Deter Geese With Motion Activated Sprinklers
When they come near a water source, have a motion-activated sprinkler that goes off when the goose goes near the water (go back to the one we mentioned earlier.)
It will freak them out and make them think the water is unusual and threatening.
If you don’t have a water source on your property, you can place the sprinkler anywhere that you know the geese are attracted to!
That’s A Wrap!
At this point, you realize that using pinwheels to scare away geese is more complicated than you think. The process takes several methods.
It depends greatly on your unique situation, your property, and the number and frequency of geese visiting and or nesting on the property.
Let’s recap a bit of what you learned here so you can make an educated choice.
If you use pinwheels to scare away geese you must rotate them so that the geese don’t get smart. The same should be done with flashing lights and animal decoys.
Habitat modification is important. Make sure they can’t get to the prime spots that need to nest. Erect mesh or small gates under the water where it’s legal on your property. Do check out the ordinances that govern that. Some places won’t let you.
Grow the grass to the one to a two-inch level so that they won’t eat it. Don’t fertilize in mid-summer. The grass should be up to 6 inches or more around water with hidden fencing in the thickest part of the grass. This discourages the geese from nesting in them.
Finally, experiment with everything we mention here and find what medium works for you.
Thanks for reading and we hope you got a lot of information on the geese and their habitats and habits. Let us know how our suggestions work for you!
Nutrient Reserves and Reproductive Performance of Female Lesser Snow Geese . C. Davison Ankney, Charles D. MacInnes. The Auk, Volume 95, Issue 3, 1 July 1978, Pages 459–471, https://doi.org/10.1093/auk/95.3.459, Published: 01 July 1978 Article history
Efficacy of Border Collies to Control Nuisance Canada Geese. Paul M. Castelli and Sheila E. Sleggs, Wildlife Society Bulletin (1973-2006). Vol. 28, No. 2 (Summer, 2000), pp. 385-392 (8 pages), Published By: Wiley
Zack is a Nature & Wildlife specialist based in Upstate, NY, and is the founder of his Tree Journey and Pest Pointers brands. He has a vast experience with nature while living and growing up on 50+ acres of fields, woodlands, and a freshwater bass pond. Zack has encountered many pest situations over the years and has spent his time maintaining and planting over 35 species of trees since his youth with his family on their property.
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