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How to live in harmony with Canada Geese in Edmonton this spring

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While the spring weather is a welcome sign in Edmonton, people are also seeing more Canadian geese and their goslings 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’ve got their little goslings and they’re extremely protective."

It's common to see a goose honk, swing their wings and make themselves look bigger when they're feeling territorial or under threat – earning them nicknames like "cobra chickens."

When trying to walk by, Janus says making eye contact can help keep a goose at bay, but anyone interacting with the birds should be prepared in case.

If a goose does fly at you, moving your body to act bigger can help scare them off.

Dale Gienow with the rescue reminds people it’s a short period of time when geese might become sensitive around their surroundings.

"I think in Edmonton we can come to appreciate them. They’re beautiful animals and we just have to learn to live with them properly," Gienow said.

A Canada Goose and goslings in west Edmonton on May 15, 2024. (Brandon Lynch/CTV News Edmonton)Many geese gravitate towards urban areas as a way to stay away from predators and hunting, Environment Canada’s website says.

That mentality is the same when geese decide to make a nest and lay eggs, typically close to a body of water.

"They try to pick elevated, secluded areas where like a terrestrial predator will not be able to come in, scare them away and steal their eggs," Janus said.

During spring, WILDNorth Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation estimates it handles around seven to eight rooftop rescues everyday to reunite goslings with their parents.

The Government of Canada website says there are at least 7 million Canada Geese in North America.

While Canada Goose are not a threatened species in Canada, it is illegal to kill them or destroy their eggs.

Janus says that due to a drop in population due to unregulated hunting in the early 1900’s.

To combat the decline, the Canadian government established the Migratory Birds Convention Act in 1994, making it illegal to kill, disturb or destroy migratory birds or their eggs without a permit.

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