Why are geese staying year-round without migrating?

People may be surprised to hear that birds learn to migrate from their parents and flock—they don’t hatch with this complex knowledge. So released geese never learned to fly north and instead take up residence year-round. We’ve also provided food and safety right here in our cities and suburbs. The geese have no reason to leave, so they settle in and raise families. Expanses of short grass, lakes and ponds, lack of natural predators, limited hunting, and supplemental feeding have created an increase in resident goose numbers. Mowed grass (like that found at parks and ball fields) provide an ideal habitat for geese. While many people find a few geese acceptable, problems develop as local flocks grow and the droppings become excessive (a goose produces about a pound per day). Problems include over-grazed lawns, buildup of droppings and feathers on play areas and walkways, nutrient loading to ponds, public health concerns at beaches and drinking water supplies, aggressive behavior by nesting birds, and safety hazards near roads and airports.

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