How to handle the return of Canada Geese to Edmonton.

How to handle the return of Canada Geese to Edmonton.

While the spring weather is a welcome sign in Edmonton, there are also more Canada geese and their chicks being seen outside.

Dominic Janus, a master's student at the University of British Columbia, says geese often become aggressive during mating season in the spring.

“They're very protective of their nests,” Janus told CTV News Edmonton. “The eggs hatch, they have their little chicks and they're extremely protective.”

Geese are often seen quacking, flapping their wings, and appearing larger when defending their territory or feeling threatened—earning them nicknames like “cobra chickens.”

According to Janus, eye contact as you walk by can help keep a goose at a distance, but anyone who interacts with the birds should be prepared for such cases.

If a goose flies toward you, you can scare it away by moving your body to make it appear larger.

Dale Gienow of the rescue organization reminds people that this is only a short period of time in which geese can be sensitive to their environment.

“I think in Edmonton we can learn to appreciate them. They are beautiful animals and we just have to learn to live with them properly,” said Gienow.

A Canada goose and goslings in west Edmonton on May 15, 2024. (Brandon Lynch/CTV News Edmonton)Many geese move to urban areas to escape predators and hunting, according to Environment Canada's website.

The same mentality prevails when geese decide to build a nest and lay eggs, usually near a body of water.

“They try to select elevated, remote areas where no terrestrial predator can enter to scare the animals away and steal their eggs,” Janus said.

During the spring, WILDNorth Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation estimates it conducts about seven to eight rooftop rescues each day to reunite goslings with their parents.

The Canadian government website states that there are at least 7 million Canada geese in North America.

Although the Canada goose is not an endangered species in Canada, it is illegal to kill it or destroy its eggs.

Janus says this is due to a population decline due to unregulated hunting in the early 20th century.

To counteract this decline, the Canadian government passed the Migratory Birds Convention Act in 1994, which prohibits the killing, disturbance or destruction of migratory birds or their eggs without a permit.