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In Shelby Township, there are many beautiful lakes and ponds that serve as centers for neighborhoods, parks, and gathering places. Just as these bodies of water are attractive places for humans, they are even more attractive to species such as the Canada goose.

According to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the number of Canada geese counted each spring in Michigan increased from about 9,000 in 1970 to over 300,000 today. Canada geese nest in every Michigan county, but are most common (80 percent of population) in the southern third of the state.

Geese are herbivores and have a preference for grass shoots, aquatic vegetation, seed heads, and various grains. Canada geese usually nest in March and April. Adult Canada geese have very few predators, though raccoons, skunks, fox and crows sometimes prey on their eggs.

In general, geese have benefited from the way humans have altered the landscape. Canada geese are attracted to areas that provide food, water, and protection. Urban areas with lakes and ponds offer all the resources that geese need to survive. During the summer months, Canada geese can be a problem for some property owners. Birds often find refuge on lakes and golf course ponds, taking advantage of the lush lawns, while experiencing their annual wing molt (loss of flight feathers). Most human-goose conflict is associated with urban settings where manicured lawns are located in close proximity to water and molting geese.

To alleviate these human-goose conflicts, the DNR, which oversees wildlife in the township, offers a tip sheet here outlining its SMART program for goose deterrents.

After all SMART options have been employed, and the nuisance continues, Shelby Township has adopted a resolution authorizing local support for the DNR’s nest and egg destruction program. As part of this program, property owners or homeowners/condominium owners associations may apply for a permit to control a nuisance goose population.    

Once a permit has been obtained from the DNR, Shelby Township staff from the Parks, Recreation and Maintenance Department is certified to assist with the DNR’s nest and egg destruction program.

Per the DNR, Canada geese are federally protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. They can be legally hunted during the hunting seasons with the proper licenses. The frightening and repellants described in the SMART tip sheet are methods sanctioned by the DNR. Throwing firecrackers or chasing geese with any motorized device (on land or water) are NOT authorized scare methods. Killing geese outside of the established hunting season and disturbing nests with goose eggs present can be done only within the DNR’s nest and egg destruction program.

DNR Canada geese website
DNR Canada goose SMART tip sheet
DNR Application and permit for Canada goose nest destruction

Shelby Township resolution for DNR Canada goose nest destruction


For more information contact:
USDA Wildlife Services – Michigan State Division: 517-336-1928
Michigan Department of Natural Resources: 734-953-0241
Burgess-Shadbush Nature Center: 586-323-2478