Featured Products for Waterfowl Removal and Control
General Biology, Reproduction, and Behavior
Waterfowl are normally monogamous and solitary nesters. The size of the nesting territory is determined by the aggressiveness of the particular pair of birds. Pair formation in geese and swans tends to be permanent until one of the pair dies; the remaining bird will often remate. Ducks seek a new mate each year.
Ducks and the Ross’s goose generally lay one egg each day until the clutch is complete. Most other geese and probably all wans lay an egg every other day until the clutch is complete. Incubation is not started until the last or next to the last egg is laid, thus all the eggs hatch at about the same time. There is a slight correlation between the length of incubation and the size of the adult bird. Incubation periods range from about 23 days for cackling Canada geese, 28 days for giant Canada geese and mallards, to 38 days for trumpeter swans. Young waterfowl are precocial and begin foraging shortly after hatching. The nest site is abandoned 1 to 2 days after hatching.
Studies indicate many species have a first year mortality rate of 60% to 70% and a 35% to 40% mortality rate in subsequent years. Life spans of 10 to 20 years for captive ducks and 20 to30 years for captive geese and swans are not uncommon.
Damage and Damage Identification
Goose problems in urban and suburban areas are primarily caused by giant Canada geese, which are probably the most adaptable of all waterfowl. If left undisturbed, these geese will readily establish nesting territories on ponds in residential yards, golf courses, condominium complexes, city parks, or on farms. most people will readily welcome a pair of geese on a pond. They can soon turn from pet to pest, however. A pair of geese can, in 5 to 7 years, easily become 50 to 100 birds that are fouling ponds and surrounding yards and damaging landscaping, gardens, and golf courses. Defense of nests or young by geese and swans can result in injuries to people who come too close.
Migrant waterfowl damage agricultural crops in northern and central North America. In the spring, waterfowl graze and trample crops such as soybeans, sunflowers, and cereal grains. in autumn, swathed grains are vulnerable to damage by ducks, coots, geese, and cranes through feeding, trampling and fouling. Young alfalfa is susceptible to damage by grazing waterfowl. Geese sometimes damage standing crops such as corn, soybeans, and wheat. In southern agricultural areas, overwintering waterfowl can cause problems in rice, lettuce, and winter wheat.
Mergansers, mallards and black ducks cause problems at some aquaculture facilities by feeding on fish fry and fingerlings. Common eiders and black and surf scoters cause problems when they feed in commercial blue mussel and razor clam beds.