Geese can be okay in small numbers, but they can quickly turn any pond into a mess! They leave droppings everywhere, build nests near the pond or lake and become aggressive, and bring in intrusive plants and organisms – even leeches! They are not typically welcomed guests at a pond for these reasons. If you use your pond and want to keep it looking clean (and keep from stepping in goose droppings) try to keep geese away from the premises if you can. There are many commercial products on the market to repel geese. Decoys work the best, combined with products that produce an odor that geese don’t like.
Another method that some of our pond owners use is to drive stakes in the ground around your pond and use string and reflective tape and create a low “fence” around the shoreline. This can help deter the geese as they don’t like to jump over or through a barrier. Restricting their path to/from the water is the goal with this method. Geese also prefer open spaces so they can see signs of danger, so planting more bushes/trees/any sort of vegetation will make your property less desirable.
Swans are another large bird that we see out on the ponds and lakes, although less often. Beautiful and sometimes intimidating, these gorgeous birds seek the perfect pond location to eat the vegetation in the water and, if they deem the location suitable, build a nest. If you see a large swan nest, stay away from it! Swans are very aggressive when nesting. Swans can cause problems like leaving droppings everywhere and ripping up vegetation to eat and use for their nests, scattering the shoreline with debris.
Swans are attracted to safe areas like an island in your pond, where they can still access the water and be protected from predators. To discourage swans from nesting on your property, try to keep them away from your island if you have one. Plant shrubs or bushes around your shoreline, as well – swans don’t like anything restricting their path to the water.
Lastly, never ever feed a swan or geese human food like bread, cereal, crackers, etc. These foods can severely harm birds and cause them to develop a dependence on humans for food. Feeding swans and geese will ensure that they stick around, and unless you are a dedicated avian enthusiast, that may not be good for the long term health of your pond and property.