Nuisance Wildlife of Lake George

Don't feed the waterfowl!

Artificial feeding of waterfowl can cause:

  • Poor nutrition
  • Increased hybridization
  • Water pollution
  • Delayed migration
  • Concentrations at unnatural sites
  • Overcrowding
  • Spread of disease
  • Costly management efforts
  • Unnatural behavior
  • Cumulative effects
  • Devaluation of the species

Ducks, Geese, and gulls have a natural survival rhythm. Our interruptions of their routine creates a destructive cycle which breaks the animals of their instinctual habits. By feeding waterfowl things like popcorn, bread, crackers and potato chips, we make them dependent on our handouts and provide them with less nutritious foods than they naturally would find for themselves.

To learn more about why not to feed waterfowl, visit NYSDEC Stop Feeding Waterfowl

When wildlife is overabundant or inhabits areas in close proximity to people, it can be a nuisance, creating property damage or concerns for health and safety. A nuisance species is one that interferes with human activities. Nuisance species of concern in the Lake George watershed are Canada geese and double-crested cormorants.

Canada Geese
Canada geese are a valuable natural resource that provide recreation and enjoyment to bird watchers,
hunters, and the general public throughout New York State. The sight of the distinctive V-formation of a flock of Canada geese flying high overhead in spring or fall is a sign of the changing seasons. But in recent years, flocks of local-nesting or “resident” geese have become year-round inhabitants of our parks, waterways, residential areas, and golf courses, and too often, they are causing significant problems.

In urban and suburban areas throughout New York State, expanses of short grass, abundant lakes and ponds, lack of natural predators, limited hunting, and supplemental feeding have created an explosion in resident goose numbers. While most people find a few geese acceptable, problems develop as local flocks grow and the droppings become excessive (a goose produces about a pound of droppings per day). Problems include over-grazed lawns, accumulations of droppings and feathers on play areas and walkways, nutrient loading to ponds, public health concerns at beaches and drinking water supplies, aggressive behavior by nesting birds, and safety hazards near roads and airports.

There are many ways to discourage geese from settling in your area. No single technique is universally effective and socially acceptable. Persistent application of a combination of methods is usually necessary and yields the best results.

Information about dealing with nuisance Canada Geese:
NYSDEC "When Geese Become a Problem" -pdf
NYSDEC "Permit Requirements for Take of Canada Geese in New York State" -pdf
APHIS Wildlife Services "WS Assistance with Waterfowl" -pdf
APHIS Wildlife Services "Management Options for Resident Canada Geese" -pdf
APHIS Wildlife Services "Egg Oil: An Avian Population Control Tool" -pdf
APHIS Wildlife Services "Management of Canada Goose Nesting" -pdf
USFWS "Resident Canada Goose Nest & Egg Depredation Order FAQ" -pdf
NYSDEC website Nuisance Canada Geese

Double-crested Cormorants
Cormorants are large, fish-eating birds that nest colonially in areas with abundant fish, often in the same habitats used by other colonial-nesting bird species. Colonial birds nest in very high densities in relatively small areas, with as many as several thousand pairs nesting side by side. This helps them to exploit an abundant food source and avoid predators, especially if suitable habitat exists on islands far from land. Cormorant populations have increased dramatically over the past 30 years, and they now threaten other waterbird species and impact fisheries in several areas of New York State.

Cormorants damage islands, kill vegetation and scare away other nesting birds. Their impact on the Lake George fishery is unclear, however declines in sport fish populations in other lakes in New York have been documented.

The cormorants present on Lake George the last few years are most likely coming from Lake Champlain, which has a much larger cormorant problem. On Lake Champlain, a coordinated effort of state and federal agencies is making progress on reducing the cormorant population.

More information on double-crested cormorants:
NYDEC website Cormorant Management in New York
USFWS "Double-crested Cormorant Management: Questions and Answers" -pdf



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