These 12- to 15-pound birds were once migratory animals, but they lost that instinct when they were employed as live decoys by hunters. In the 1930s, live decoys were outlawed and the captive geese were turned loose, multiplying exponentially ever since.
These resident geese can now be found eating loads of cultivated grass, loitering around condominiums and leaving droppings everywhere. With an exploding population, they have become a general nuisance, and if a flock is large enough it can even contaminate water supplies.
Like homeowners weary of guests that stay too long, condos are looking for ways to move the geese off the property.
But, like with removing guests, condos face an uphill battle “because a lot of the things that are attractive to humans are attractive to geese,” says H. Heusmann, waterfowl biologist with the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife.
Amenities that geese like, says Heusmann, include landscaped ponds (great for swimming and protection from predators) and short, manicured lawns (great for grazing).