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Oregon Considers Drastic Measures to Control Urban Geese

April 11, 2008.

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission will consider new rules that would allow the destruction of resident Canada goose nests and eggs where the birds are causing property damage or threatening public health or safety.

The rules would bring Oregon in line U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) regulations related to Canada geese adopted last year. The USFWS retains preeminent authority for the take of all migratory birds.

To learn more and see the proposed rules, visit Exhibit H under the Commission’s April 2008 meeting agenda.

Under the proposed state rules, a landowner that follows USFWS rules by registering on their web site for a permit could destroy the eggs or nests of resident Canada geese in the following areas only: inside incorporated cities or urban growth boundaries or on golf courses, parks or other highly developed recreational areas. Migratory Canada geese nest in Canada and Alaska, so these new rules won’t affect them.

The proposed rules will also clarify the ability of airport managers to control migratory birds (including geese) through a variety of methods and for federal and state agencies to control migratory birds when there is a direct threat to human health.

The proposed rules are meant to help landowners and land managers in locations that do not allow sport-hunting, the preferred method for wildlife managers to address damage caused by geese and other wildlife.  

"Managers are not sure how widespread use of these new rules will be among landowners, but they will provide an important new tool to address goose damage in areas where sport-hunters can’t help,” explained Brad Bales, ODFW migratory bird program coordinator. “Reporting any goose control activity is a requirement under the USFWS permit and wildlife management agencies will be closely monitoring this activity and can make adjustments in the future.”

Geese are attracted to open water and they can do significant damage to recreational areas like golf courses and parks. Their feces can spread disease; public health officials have been known to close beaches due to contamination from excessive goose droppings. Large numbers of geese at airports can create a serious threat to aviation safety. Geese can also be aggressive during nesting and brood rearing season, and have been know to bite or chase people.

Department staff will give an informational briefing to the Commission on April 18 and temporary rules to bring state rules in line with current federal rules may be implemented shortly after by ODFW’s Director. The Commission will consider adopting the rules permanently during its August meeting in Salem.

To comment, do one of the following: email; mail Wildlife Division, 3406 Cherry Ave NE, Salem, OR, 97303; or testify in person at the Aug. 9 meeting.

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