Animals in homeowner associations create problems from time to time. Domestic animals can be more or less controlled with reasonable policies and owner compliance. But what about wild animals that roam the property? Deer are becoming more prevalent in urban settings as they come foraging for food. Coyotes have taken up residence in cities with adequate cover as have raccoons. Florida has issues with alligators. Some species are extremely adaptable.

Once in danger of extinction in North America, the Canada goose population is increasing dramatically nationwide, in part because of laws protecting them and a lack of natural predators. Urban landscapes are especially attractive, the kind found in many homeowner associations with ponds and park areas.

The Canada goose can be very destructive and create unsanitary conditions. One goose can eat up to 5 pounds of turf per day and produce up to 1.5 pounds of droppings. Large, grazing populations also can compact turf areas and foul (no pun intended) water supplies.

Canada geese are wild animals with instinctual behaviors which perceive areas with taller grasses and flowers as environments where predators might lurk. A good first step to reclaiming goose infested landscape is to plant native perennial flowers around the ponds, as well as in areas that don't need to be turf. Another advantage is that native perennial wildflowers and grasses have deep root systems that can stabilize eroding shorelines.

When these plantings mature, the reduced population of geese, combined with the deep-rooted plants, will result in improved water quality. Over the long term, wildflowers are a permanent solution because they drop seeds every year to fill in any bare soil.

The cost to establish wildflowers is usually lower than the alternative. Where barrier plantings are not an option, use these strategies to reduce geese populations:

  • Decrease the size of lawn areas surrounding water.
  • Curtail fertilizer use. Geese prefer lush, succulent, tender grass.
  • Reduce or eliminate mowing around the edges of water. In taller grass, geese cannot easily find new, delectable shoots. Taller grass also acts as a barrier to block their line of sight from the water, their main mode of protection from predators.
  • Placing large, rugged boulders about 2 feet in diameter around the water also might discourage geese from walking in and out of the water.

Finally, dogs such as border collies are becoming a popular method of keeping geese out of the common area. Specialty companies can provide and supervise dogs for geese patrol.

Laws regulating bird control and bird protection vary by municipality and by state, and federal regulations also apply. Before undertaking bird control measures, check with local and state departments of agriculture or wildlife. Actions that might be legal in one state might not be in another.

Excerpts from an article from facilitiesnet.com. For more on HOA maintenance, see .

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