Resolving Conflicts With Our Neighbors

Photo by Craige McGonigle on Unsplash

I live in a village in Upstate New York, and there is a pond less than a mile from my home. A few weeks before Christmas, village officials decided to put a fountain in the pond. It was a pretty fountain that changed colors at night, and everyone loved it except for the geese. So they decided to stop coming to the pond. And we humans didn’t like that at all. So, believe it or not, we decided to get rid of that fountain, and now the geese are back.

Our village is about two and a half hours south of Canada, and most of these geese are Canada geese. I have only lived in seven states. And, while not everyone has been unkind to geese, I have only seen kindness like this shown toward them here. Most people try to keep them away rather than make them stay, and Floridians seem to be guilty of it most. My mother’s neighbor fired a gun at a goose as my brother sat out on the dock with his newborn granddaughter in his arms. It was only a BB gun. But you bet your sweet bippy he was livid.

Mom lived in a subdivision on a “waterfront” property. Like most in Florida, this was a retention pond. But the subdivision was about fifty years old by then. So this ten-acre lake had developed quite an ecosystem. Still, her neighbor knew he had purchased a house on that waterfront property. And he and his wife and been living in that house for decades. They even raised their (now middle-aged children there). So, when they decided to take out that mortgage, they knew there would be waterfowl.

After my brother went off on him, he and his wife threw grapefruit and oranges at the Canada geese instead. And, these folks were not the only Floridians I’d seen abusing these birds. And, it’s all because they poop. And I guess I get that, but I also know about this nifty new device. And some of you may have even heard about it too. It isn’t only available for firefighters anymore.

Yep. That’s right. I am talking about a hose. When I leave the geese alone and use a hose and some soap to clean up after them later, my mind is in a better place. But when I disturb them for being themselves (they don’t know how OCD we humans can be), I am also screwing with the ecosystem. And that is not fair to any of us.

“Federal law protects Canada geese. It is illegal to harm geese, their eggs, or their nests in the United States without permission from the U.S. Fish and Wild Service (USFWS). Geese may be harassed or scared away without a permit as long as the geese, goslings, eggs, and nests are not harmed. USFWS allows resident Canada goose eggs to be treated to prevent hatching after simply registering online at

That information is on the Humane Society’s PDF, Solving Problems with Canada Geese. It also contains some history about how their population became so widespread. And you can also read about how to curtain the most common conflicts humans tend to have with Canada geese.



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Michelle Rostykus

Michelle Rostykus

Mother, sister, aunt, great-aunt, cousin, friend; love being a chamberlain and courtier to my six-year-old Brindled American Shorthair and living in the country