If you have a shoreline property and are having issues with Canada Geese and the amount of droppings they leave on your lawn, it could be that you are unintentionally inviting them. There is no doubt that Canada Geese are attracted to shoreline properties that have mowed grass to the water’s edge. Why? This offers ideal habitat. Manicured grass provides a preferred food source, it provides an unobstructed view of the lake so they can watch for predators, and it provides them with easy access in and out of the water.
Fortunately, there is an easy way for you to take back your lakefront – you just have to make it less attractive for Canada Geese. The easiest way to do this is to create a shoreline buffer – a strip of native vegetation on your land along your shoreline. Doing this removes their easy access in and out of the lake, takes away their unobstructed view of predators, and makes it so they cannot see that tasty, green grass on the other side of your buffer.
To create a buffer, you can simply stop mowing a section of your lawn along your shoreline. Seeds brought in by wind and wildlife will begin to grow. You can also plant native tall coarse grasses, shrubs, trees, and wildflowers. Your buffer should be tall enough so that geese cannot see over the vegetation and should be dense enough so that they cannot see through it. Having a buffer that is at least 10 m wide will also help protect your shoreline from erosion and help filter contaminants before they enter the lake. Including a narrow S-shaped path will provide an easy route for you and your family to access the water without making it visible to the geese. Soon you will have a beautiful swath of vegetation that will attract pollinators and songbirds yet will be unappealing to Canada Geese.
Canada Geese play important ecosystem roles as an essential part of the food chain and helping disperse seeds. They are protected under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994.
For more information on how you can show your lake some love, visit LoveYourLake.ca.
Love Your Lake is a shoreline evaluation program developed by the Canadian Wildlife Federation and Watersheds Canada.
Written by Terri-Lee Reid, Freshwater Researcher with the Canadian Wildlife Federation