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Climate change and pest problems - Canada geese

Abell Pest Control

Plants and animals are quickly adapting behaviors to meet the challenges of a changing climate, and this can be an issue for home and business owners. In North America in particular, warming temperatures are making winters less deadly and creating opportunities for new choices for animals.

The Canada goose is one animal in particular that may show different behavior in response to climate change. These birds are important species in the wild, but when they move closer to human development they can cause considerable trouble. Their waste is full of harmful bacteria and Canada geese can be shockingly confrontational and territorial. With warmer winters, however, there's less reason to fly south for the season, and this could lead to more conflict.

Changing migratory patterns

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology found that historically, conditions in the northern U.S. and in a small band of southern Canada have been suitable for Canada Geese year-round. Here, there is enough access to vegetation and unfrozen water that the birds can comfortably survive through the winter. As the climate warms, however this region will likely expand, meaning there will be more opportunities for Canada geese to avoid flying south for the winter.

The Canadian government found that already there have been changes in migratory behavior among the birds. Canada geese living in the sub-arctic regions of the continent still make long seasonal trips. But as more and more of the country becomes hospitable year-round, fewer birds- especially in southern areas - are migrating at all, with population booms in the more seasonal regions. Even the Canada geese that do fly south for the winter aren't traveling as far as they once did. As the climate continues to warm, it is possible that a greater portion of the geese population simply won't bother with migrating at all and will be absent from the northern and southern regions of their existing, seasonal ranges.

A cyclical loop

Canada geese have already conquered cities and suburbs across the continent, creating all sorts of problems for home and business owners. Human development is usually devoid of predators and full of ponds and lakes for the birds to use. Likewise, these animals are opportunistic vegetarians, and will feast on crops, gardens and even simple grass. For that reason, city parks and other manicured green spaces are the perfect landscape for Canada geese.

Geese neglecting to migrate may instead specifically chose to spend the colder months in a suburb or city rather than in a more natural setting. For the northern U.S. and southern Canada where a year-round range is likely to expand, this could mean an increase in the current Canada geese population.

Although these animals are changing their behavior, they're still protected under the 1994 Migratory Birds Convention Act. This international treaty between the U.S. and Canada guards important bird species from harm, except under certain circumstances. Unless this is amended, Canada geese will continue to enjoy protected status, even as their numbers grow. Regardless, it is unwise to attempt to remove any wild animals from your property on your own

For home and business owners, one option is to call in a pest service to employ geese hazing. Through the use of trained dogs, lasers or even fireworks, professionals encourage geese to relocate with noise, annoyance and fear. This can take several sessions to work, but the birds rarely return once they leave. This is an effective solution for larger properties in particular such as golf courses or airports. If you're having problems with Canada geese, be sure to call a pest professional right away.

About the author:

Abell Pest Control is a family owned Canadian company dedicated to providing effective, professional and courteous service in pest management.Started in 1924 with one office, Abell now employs several hundred people with branch offices across Canada and the United States.

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