How can we keep geese from pooping on our dock?

We have goose poop on our dock. What are some suggestions to keep geese from using our dock as a bathroom in the future?—Vera Gibson, Twin Lakes, BC

Geese are not easy to drive away, particularly if you cottage in an area with grass instead of a natural, native shoreline (geese are grazers and especially love lawns). And it’s tricky to keep them—and others, such as mergansers, mallards, and gulls—off docks or rafts because these make such attractive waterfowl hangouts: They’re right at the water, they’re easy to access, and they allow the birds to see predators coming. Good deal! But not for you.

So, try making the dock less appealing to your geese. Two basic options are to block it in some way or make it scary. Since geese usually hop up onto the dock from the water, you could try putting up a perimeter barrier, such as one made from yellow caution tape. Or you could obstruct the dock with a row of chairs, or a rolled up tarp.

To scare the geese, try rigging up something that looks weird and flaps or moves in the breeze, for example, an owl decoy attached to the end of a fishing pole. But keep in mind that in general, deterrents only work until the geese realize they can simply ignore them.

The longer the geese have been using your dock as a toilet, the harder it will be to convince them to stay away. But it’s worth a try; by being persistent and using a few tactics in combination, you just might be able to break them of this messy habit.