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Egyptian Geese are a Problem in the US

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Egyptian geese are quickly climbing up the list of invasive species in Europe but are also invading the warmer regions of the United States.

We see a lot in the news about how invasive boa constrictor snakes are in the everglades so we know how local wildlife and our environment can suffer when a foreign species can quickly adapt to the right conditions.

In the US, Egyptian geese populations are problematic in Arkansas, California, Florida, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas. The photos I took almost 20 yrs ago were in southeastern Pennsylvania, specifically at Lake Nockamixen. I haven’t seen them since maybe because of the harsh winters we have in this area.

In this blog post, we will explore the specific reasons they negatively impact the United States and what you can do to help. Some gardeners have ponds, lakes and streams on their property where they can encounter Egyptian geese. Gardeners are often outside and can be the first line in defense in spotting, reporting and managing this problem. Homesteaders can also have issues with this invasive species being aggressive with their own flock of geese, ducks, etc.

The Egyptian goose can be recognized by the brown patch over the eye and the copper like feathers on it’s side.

How did Egyptian geese get here to the United States?

Normally, Egyptian geese are native throughout Africa except in deserts and thick forests. They are also found in the Nile Valley and south of the Sahara. Egyptian geese prefer rivers, dams, marshes, lakes reservoirs, offshore island and estuaries. Farmers and homesteaders have the potential for problems because Egyptian geese prefer to be near agricultural land or grasslands for grazing.

Most likely, they were transported as an ornamental species despite sales bans in place worldwide. Egyptian geese found in the wild in the United States either escape from captivity or are deliberately dumped for a variety of reasons.

Why are Egyptian Geese in the United States a problem?

They become aggressive to native birds around the time of raising their young. Egyptian geese are known to fight in the air and kill other birds’ offspring. Both males and females take turns caring for their babies.

Egyptian geese compete for food with other animals. They have a long lifespan of 15-25 years.

Why are they invasive?

It’s a combination between being adaptable to other environments being aggressive enough to compete for food and nesting sites. An Egyptian goose can lay between 5-11 eggs. Both parents take responsibility of taking care of their babies.

Egyptian geese can make a home in all kinds of environments that are near a body of water. They don’t have a migration pattern in the United States but they can travel as far as 40 miles to 500 miles.

Egyptian geese mate for life and both are active in taking care of their babies.

How do they affective native bird species?

Egyptian geese compete for food that other native birds eat too. They eat insects, frogs, worms and vegetation. Adding their population to other populations of native bird species, too many feces degrade the water quality in small ponds and waterways.

They are known to kill other birds’ offspring to ensure their own offspring’s survival. As you can see, this is a major problem for native birds’ that are protected.

What other problems do they cause?

Both males and females are really loud especially during mating season and rearing their young. They cause water pollution in small ponds due to their feces. They are aggressive in the air and on the ground towards other animals besides birds. This behavior prevents you having a more diverse wildlife locally. On rare occasions when protecting their young, they can attack people like this woman in South Africa.

What states are affected the most?

Although I found this pair in Pennsylvania many years ago, I haven’t seen any Egyptian geese since then on this lake. However, there are articles about Egyptian geese problems in Arkansas, California, Florida, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas.

Why aren’t Egyptian Geese a problem in colder regions?

When you consider the climate of where they come from, it seems as though they wouldn’t be able to handle harsh winters in northern parts of the United States. The climate of the city of London is more mild than in Pennsylvania.

It’s logical to assume that if the pair stayed in this lake, they likely didn’t survive the winter. Or, they flew more south as the weather got colder and settled there instead.

The Egyptian Goose eat grasses, stems, berries, seeds, algae and aquatic plants.

Are Egyptian Geese are a problem world wide?

Actually, they have been considered invasive for the last 40 years. The ancient Greeks and Romans domesticated Egyptian geese and the Egyptians considered them sacred according to artwork.

That hasn’t been the case worldwide. They are established in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Sweden, Cyprus, Denmark and Poland. Egyptian geese are listed as an invasive species in the European Union since 2017.

What is being done to address Egyptian Geese problem?

Some countries have create a sales ban for private collections and zoos. Some are encouraging people to report all sightings and active eradication of populations.

Nursing home Fleurâge Residences in the Netherlands found a solution with using an Agrilaser Handheld which is a laser to scare off unwanted birds without injuring them.

Egyptian geese stay in one pond, lake, stream or river for their entire lives, unless there are too many predators or due to drought.

What do I do if I see them locally?

Check in with your laws in your state. For example, Florida you are legally able to destroy Egyptian geese nests and eggs. You can capture them and humanely kill them on private property. Click here for more information. In Texas, new efforts are being made to address this problem.

At the very least, report sightings to local fish and game commission.

Egyptian geese are actually a duck but was named because they act and look more like geese.

Summary

Some states in warmer regions of the United States are already experiencing problems with Egyptian Geese. They are not native to the United States. European countries like the UK and Netherlands have laws in place to address the problem and prevent more from being important into the country.

They can cause all kinds of problems with their territorial, aggressive nature during breeding season and while raising their babies. They chase away birds and other animals. Just like most geese, too many of them foul up smaller bodies of water.

If you see them, check out what guidelines are in place in your state. At the very least, report sightings at your local fish and game commission. If the problem is addressed early, it’s easier to manage than if it’s let go for a long period of time.

3 thoughts on “Egyptian Geese are a Problem in the US

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