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Recreation and Community Services

Project & Development Planner

320 Geneva St.
St. Catharines ON L2N 2G6

Tel: 905.688.5601 x 3145

Fax: 905.646.9262

TTY: 905.688.4TTY (4889)


Email Project & Development Planner 


Goose Management

Canada Geese were reintroduced to southern Ontario in 1967 to provide opportunities for local hunting and wildlife viewing. Since that time the goose population has been increasing. If left unchecked the population can double every three to five years. This is in part due to the lack of natural predators and the availability of fertilized, watered and mowed grass.


Geese in St. Catharines


Parkland areas where Canada Geese are a significant problem in St. Catharines include:

  • Rennie Park
  • Lakeside Park
  • Lockhart Point
  • Port Dalhousie Harbour Walkway
  • Welland Canals Parkway Trail
  • Garden City Golf Course
  • Victoria Lawn Cemetery
  • Jaycee Park

The City adopted a Goose Management Program in 1999 in response to public complaints respecting Canada Geese interfering with the use and enjoyment of parkand.

Geese Relocation Program

When will the geese be transported?

Goose relocation has been completed in for 2016, with 500 geese relocated from the Lakeside Park, Rennie Park and Henley Island areas. Early June is was selected because geese moult at this time of year and are flightless.

Where are you taking the geese?

The geese will be moved to a wildlife sanctuary recognized and recommended as a safe site by the Canadian Wildlife Service - Faucher Farms in the town of Amherstburg, ON.

What is the size of the sanctuary?

1800 acres

Has Faucher Farms accepted geese before?

The farm accepted 500 geese last year, but not from St. Catharines.

Are geese wounded or killed during relocation?

No geese are harmed during relocation.

What ensures the health and safety of the geese during the relocation process?

Goose relocation is strictly controlled by Canadian Wildlife Services. Regulations in place to ensure the safety of geese include:

  • number of geese transported at any one time
  • number of hours geese can be in transport
  • distance geese can be transported
  • specifications of vehicle used to transport geese
  • Site conditions of relocation

Are young geese separate from their parents?

Family groups together are herded together and are not separate from the adult geese raising them. Mostly, geese are not raised only by their parents. The most dominant pair of geese may drive the parents away and "adopt" their young. 

How will the relocation prevent gees form returning or other flocks from taking their place?

Relocation will not prevent all geese from returning. Studies indicate 21% of first-time relocated adults and 3.5% of juvenile geese may return to the site following relocation.  Relocation is particularly effective for young geese (yearlings) who have not yet established annual migration patterns.

What percentage of geese are likely to return after the relocation?

Studies indicate 21% of first-time relocated adults and 3.5% of juvenile geese may return to the site following relocation.  Relocation is particularly effective for young geese (yearlings) who have not yet established annual migration patterns.

Does the contractor transporting the geese provide a guarantee?

No, the contractor does not guarantee the relocated geese won't return to St. Catharines. 

Will the relocated geese be tracked?

Geese will be banded after they arrive at the relocation area so we will be able to track the number of geese which may return next season.  Studies indicate 21% of first-time relocated adults and 3.5% of juvenile geese may return to the site following relocation.  Relocation is particularly effective for young geese (yearlings) who have not yet established annual migration patterns.

When can residents expect to see a noticeable reduction in the number of geese locally?

The City's Goose Management Plan is a long term strategy that uses relocation, egg oiling and habitat modification to reduce the local Goose population over time. This is necessary because geese can live as long as 25 years. Similar approaches have been used in other waterfront communities who are now seeing much fewer geese.

What is the cost to relocate the geese?

Approximately $12,000, which includes all fees, equipment, staff time, permits and donation to the sanctuary.

Why not use goose harassment instead of relocation?

Goose harassment is effective only in the immediate short term (a few hours).  It is not a long-term solution and it does not reduce the number of geese.  For this reason, budget resources are being reallocated from harassment to relocation.  Goose harassment can be effective in temporarily removing geese immediately before events scheduled in parks or other areas with high geese populations.  Geese will return to the site as soon as the harassment ceases and/or the event is over.

Can we make the area inhospitable by encouraging other natural predators such as foxes and coyotes?

Foxes and coyotes are predators of geese, but increasing the population of these predators would cause additional challenges for people and pets living near the affected areas.

Canada Geese Nests


Canada Geese typically return to the same location to breed each year. Natural nesting habitats include mowed lawns near water, mashes, islands, and trees. The onset of nesting activity varies each year depending on weather, but usually begins in early to mid-March. Nests are usually a roughly woven collection of grasses and other vegetation and can be up to a metre in diameter.

Please be aware that geese are very protective of their nests. A goose that hisses and beats his wings when you approach may be protecting a nest.

If you have a nest on your property


If you have a nest on your property and you are located next to an area where the City already oil eggs you may be eligible for the City to perform this work on your property. Please contact Mike Anderson at 905-688-5601 ext. 3140 or to discuss eligibility. If eligible you will be required to submit a letter of authorization.

If you are not eligible for the City's oiling program you may be able to obtain a permit to destroy or relocate the nest from Environment Canada - Canada Wildlife Service. You will need to speak with an Environment Canada Permit Officer directly about this. Please visit Environment Canada's website for more information on permits.

Feeding geese


Goose droppings pollute our parks, beaches, trails and waterways. Please help us keep our parks and wildlife healthy by not feeding the geese.

Feeding geese can:

  • Cause dietary and health issues for the geese

  • Increase human-geese conflicts as geese become attracted to locations where humans are feeding

  • Geese can lose their fear of humans and become aggressive, especially during nesting season

  • Lead to overpopulation; unnaturally high concentrations of Canada Geese can causing degradation of our parks and turf areas

  • Delay migration

Copyright © 2014 The Corporation of the City of St. Catharines