When geese shed flight feathers (molt), water bodies are safe sanctuaries from land predators.

The GeesePeace site aversion program makes the water body seem unsafe to the geese.

Site Aversion

When nesting is over in early May, geese walk (if they have goslings) or fly to be near a water body. The water body gives them sanctuary from predators when the geese become flightless (molted). In the GeesePeace program the geese do not have goslings so they do not need to choose a water body close to where they had nested. They are able to leave their nesting area to find a safe place to molt or go on a molt migration. When the area has had a history of abundant Canada geese it may be necessary to use a Border collie in a kayak or gas powered boat to assure that the geese leave the area before they molt.

Border collie

The Border collie is perceived by the geese as a threat on land and in the water because the Border collie continues the flush in a kayak or gas powered boat. Geese normally escape a land predator by going into the water. By bringing the Border collie to the geese in a kayak or boat, the water sanctuary is no longer available to the geese, so they must move on. In the first year this may take more effort than in subsequent years because the geese had always molted in the area. In the second year and beyond, the resident geese leave sooner. They already know where to molt migrate and know they cannot escape the Border collie.

Period of operation

Operations begin approximately the second week in May and continue until mid June or early July depending on how long it takes for the geese to leave the area. For the first three days it may take about an hour to get the geese to leave the area. They may return several times in the day and each time they are flushed from the area. After three days the geese learn that they cannot defeat the Border collie team (one Border collie, two handlers and a kayak or gas powered boat for large water bodies). The geese may continue to return, however with less frequency and when they do return they leave quickly. The numbers returning continually decrease so that by mid June all geese that can fly are gone from the area and do not return until late September of early Oct.

Some communities may wish to continue the program through the fall and winter as migratory birds fly in from the north or the resident Canada geese begin pond hopping. During this time the geese primarily roost at night near water bodies and spend the day light hours in open fields which make them very vulnerable to the Border collie. Inexpensive (under $100) red or green lasers used at twilight (or dawn) are effective in getting the geese to move away from roosting areas like beaches and boat docks so they roost elsewhere on water bodies which are less problematic. If the geese are roosting, then the lasers used at twilight or dawn get them to move on.

Border collie operations generally end in late February in areas where nesting will occur to avoid chasing nesting geese and increasing the difficulty of locating nests. Where there are juvenile geese (non-nesters) in an area, these gees may be flushed form the site taking care not to disturb geese preparing to nest.


All handlers and boat drivers and the Border collies wear personal flotation devices when engaged in water operations. The Border collie wears a yellow life jacket at all times to identify the Border collie as a working dog, increase endurance in the water and make the Border collie more visible to the geese from the air.

Handlers and Border collies

Handlers are hired out of the local community, are community staff or volunteers. The Border collies are housed in the area or stay with the handlers. The Border collie host family generally receive a stipend for the care of the border collies. If a commercial Border collie company is hired for site aversion they should agree to comply with all GeesePeace safety and operational protocols.

Supplementary site version strategies

  • Low powered lasers (green or red):. Use these in the early morning or at twilight at low light levels. If geese are on a small water body point the low powered laser on a solid object that the geese can see and zigzag the beam in rapid motion.
  • Landscaping: For small ponds, tall grasses or bushes at the edge of the pond make the geese nervous because they cannot see potential predators.
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