In the mid-20th century, Canda geese were rare — even considered to be extinct. They spent decades on federal endangered species lists.

Now, it seems like they're everywhere.

The birds are practically indestructible so their numbers have grown dramatically, in fact you now see them almost anywhere you go in the Garden state, honking and depositing goose droppings.

According to Larry Hajna, a spokesman for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, some Canada geese still follow migratory patterns and leave New Jersey for several months of the year, but we now have a year-round population of about 80,000.

“They have everything they need here, open water and grassy areas. They’re foragers. Their preference is for turf grass, the kind of grass you can find on corporate lawns, in parks, in yards,” he said. “We’ve got the milder winters plus abundant habitat and food for them and there’s really no reason for them to migrate.”

He said the birds are still protected under federal law and regulated by the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but “both of those agencies do have programs that provide permits for property owners to take steps to control the goose populations.”

If New Jersey residents want to destroy Canada goose eggs in nests or move nests, they must apply for permission to do so. The state Division of Fish and Wildlife website provides information and links to agencies that can issue permits.

Hajna also pointed out New Jersey has "liberal hunting seasons and regulations that encourage hunting of Canada geese to help control the population.”

He stressed residents should never feed Canada geese because it encourages them to stay around people.

“It’s no fun to go walking in the park and basically have to dodge goose droppings all over the place," he said. “And if you give them food they can tend to become more aggressive, and they are wild animals and they can attack.

“It’s not like being attacked by a lion or a tiger but they can go after a person.”

Hajna noted Canada geese do carry diseases “and the feces is a major problem for many of our lakes and streams.”

You can contact reporter David Matthau at

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