Goose Poop: The Sequel

Sherwood Island’s 9/11 Memorial is not the only Westport site attracting Canada geese — and the concern of residents dealing with droppings. An alert “06880” reader writes:

While walking at Compo Beach, I can’t help noticing the goose poop that is everywhere — especially on the walkway behind the brick walls, and on the grounds across from the playground.

I think we need a goose patrol to clean up the walks. Though I appreciate the wildlife, I can’t help thinking that since dogs and other animals are not allowed inside the gates, something needs to be done to control the geese.

I don’t know what the answer is, but I do know that the goose poop makes walking treacherous. I’ll leave it all (not the poop, sorry) in your good hands!

“06880” readers: This is a question that’s bedeviled outdoor enthusiasts for years. What’s the answer? Is there one? Click “06880,” to give us the scoop on poop.

Seagulls can be pretty, or a pain. Canada geese don't bring too much to the party.

Seagulls can be pretty, or a pain. Canada geese don’t bring too much to the party.

30 responses to “Goose Poop: The Sequel

  1. A Danbury golf course used a dog to fairly successfully run off the geese and convince them to stay away. Just saying.

  2. Golf courses, cemeteries and other public facilities have used border collies from services like these for years:

  3. Border collies are great but for those stubborn geese who decide westport is their home rather than migrate? We close the beach down for 6 hours and get our thanksgiving feast ahead of time!


  4. Virginia Tienken

    Longshore once had a dog to chase off the geese. What was the result of that? Never saw the dog or heard anything about it.

  5. It’s a health hazard as well as being unsightly! I am ashamed to bring guests for a walk along the path because of all the geese droppings. And when I see them in the area where Beach School takes place I wonder how this is allowed to continue. Something needs to be done.

  6. Michelle Benner

    There’s always goose poop in that area at compo (showers, brick wall) at this time of year. It’s probably just a seasonal thing, maybe associated with migrating?

  7. The Canada geese probably don’t have immigration papers, so just send them home or build a very high wall around Compo Beach.
    Seriously being ashamed to bring people to Compo!
    Sounds more like a first world problem.
    Unfortunately this is part of nature. 😉

    • Michelle Benner

      I agree (about this being a part of nature), and I suspect the geese have been coming to and through Compo long before it was ever named Compo. Goose poop season is just a short while, it doesn’t happen all summer, so at least there’s that. Plus, I think it’s nice that we share a natural environment with other creatures who use and enjoy Compo as much as we do. No need to be ashamed, but rather proud (?) of our beautiful, inclusive shoreline which sustains so much wildlife and provides so much enjoyment and beauty for us all. That and maybe organize a seasonal goose poop clean up committee? 🙂

  8. John F. (J-period) Wandres

    When I lived Matawan, New Jersey, the Monmouth County Park System had the same problem, with geese that liked to congregate around a small pond in Holmdel Park. MCPS found a certain type of grass that is noxious to the avian world. A year after MCPS planted these grasses, the pond and surrounding greensward was poopless. Give ’em a call! (The Park, not the Geese).

  9. Michael Calise

    Shotguns work!

  10. Jonathan Greenwald

    Dan, I did not think I would be replying to your posts twice in less than 24 hours, but the goose poop issue – year after year – is inescapable.

    As it happens, about two weeks ago I realized that all the goose dung on the grass and, to a lesser extent, on paved surfaces, was unaccompanied by any of it on sand. And, in the 6 -7 times that I’ve been to the beech since, no change, dung on sand.

    That’s far from being the answer to the question you posed, but is it a CLUE to the answer – lying in the sand? Do you know a naturalist whom you could consult?

    > >

  11. Be careful of what you consider to spray on the ground to chase the geese.. Look what happened in the Carolinas when they were spraying for Zlka, all the honey bees died. Make sure good research is done.

  12. Whe my kids were at Camp Compo years ago I was very concerned about this issue. Kids sat, played and even ate lunch on goose poop covered grass. I tried to find a solution by dealing with Parks and Rec, and Town of Westport, but there was no way to discourage the geese. It was my kids last year so I just gave up trying. This was over 10 years ago so I’m very surprised that nothing’s been done.

  13. Very aware the seagulls more aggressive than previously. Yesterday a gaggle of gulls went for people’s bags of food that were unattended, 3 different locals. Other people chased them, covered the bags, but birds were back to lift the towels!

  14. I remember my daughter talking about how gross the playing fields at Staples were/are, lots of goose poop!

  15. Use a big umbrella, opening and closing the umbrella. It actually works for Turkeys… they move on. Give it a try for the geese.

  16. When we first moved to Compo in 1971 the geese migrated and only “stopped” over in various grassy areas in Town…Bedford Junior High on Riverside and the Compo Yacht basin were some of the spots they frequented. THEN! Do gooders feeling sorry for the poor geese began feeding them throughout the winter. The geese figured out that they could stay and survive. We suffered through Pop Warner practices at Bedford where the football pants turned green from the goose poop. The problem has since exponentially enlarged. I’m with my friend Mike Calise.

  17. I remember hearing a story, true, I think, that some years ago residents of Soundview Drive awoke in a Januarrty morning to see geese who spent the night at the waters edge at Compo were now frozen in: feet, legs, lower half. . The geese were unable to move. A number of the men who saw the birds– took whatever garden tools they had, went to the edge of the Sound, dug at the ice and watched the geese walk and fly away.

  18. While wild geese are certainly “part of nature,” the current levels of population are not natural. Human activities have drastically altered their habitats, changed their migratory habits and patterns and eliminated natural predators that once kept populations in check. The overpopulation of geese has not only resulted in challenges for people, but detrimental impacts to other wildlife and the habitat on which they depend.

    Regulated hunting of geese in appropriate places can help control populations, provide good food for those who hunt and help humans retain, appreciate and experience an intimate and wild connection to the earth and our food. Some of my favorite memories growing up in Westport was going out to Cockenoe Island in the fall and winter, setting up decoys, calling in ducks and geese, killing some and enjoying the great nourishment they provided. The meat went well with striped bass.

    I still enjoy hunting ducks and geese where I now live in Montana. I consider it a healthy, sustainable connection to the land and what sustains us all and has provoked in me the understanding and desire to fight for the protection of their wild, native habitats, migratory corridors and nesting areas up north. However, hunting is understandably not acceptable to many and not safe or appropriate in many places.

    The best and most successful programs around the nation include a multi-faceted approach: Limiting flock growth, frightening geese so they decide to leave on their own, and changing the habitat so it isn’t attractive to geese.

    “Addling” eggs — including treating eggs with corn oil or removing eggs from the nests, can limit the number of geese in places people don’t want more. And it frees adult geese from tending flightless goslings, so they can be encouraged to move themselves elsewhere before summer conflicts are greatest.

    As already mentioned by some folks here, goose-herding dogs have been successfully used to scare off geese from unwanted places and keep them wary and wild.

    A more complicated part of successful community plans is to change landscaping by removing preferred foods for geese and creating a landscape where the birds don’t feel safe — while also setting aside, enhancing and creating certain natural zones in appropriate places that meet their needs to encourage them to go and stay there. This, of course, means eliminating a lot of lawns (which was also reduce use of herbicides, pesticides and increasingly scarce water sources) . . . but I don’t foresee that happening anytime soon in Westport.

    In sum: People need to learn about geese, ecology, natural history, what has created the problems, and study and emulate successful programs from other communities. It will take knowledge, understanding, leadership and a united community effort.

  19. The Canada geese are a problem at Calf Pasture Beach in Norwalk. I remember some years ago Parks & Rec walked a black lab named Aspen upand down the beach to chase away the geese. I don’t think they still do this. But, anyway Norwalk has a year round ban on all other dogs on the beach.

  20. I’ve been hunting geese for years on the coast. Once the season starts the geese figure out the areas to avoid.

    One thing to understand is that these birds are more Connecticut geese than Canada geese. Maybe a very few are migrators but most are resident birds.
    Using dogs to scare geese is sort of a waste of time. It just moves them from place to place. Shorehaven’s dog makes them fly to Longshore, Longshore’s dog makes them fly to Sherwood Island.

    There are really only two ways to get rid of geese. Hunting or a round up. The issue with hunting is there isn’t much access. There are only 3 places off Westport. The mouth of the Saugatuck, the channel between Burying Hill and Sherwood Island and Sasco Creek between Westport and Southport. The most effective way is a round up. The CT DEEP needs to issue a permit. When the birds are molting in the summer and can’t fly they are corralled into a pen. They then are humanely killed. I can’t imagine it happening in Westport with the large number of animal rights supporters.

  21. Elect Trump and all the geese will all move back to Canada – problem solved.

    • Actually Rob you can elect crooked Hillary she is good at deleting things. She would be good at deleting the goose population.

  22. Geese at Comp?? Gotta stop that! AND Seagulls? NO WAY! Get ’em outta here!! And as for fish… they poop in the water!! I wont swim in that until we get rid of THEM TOO!!!

  23. I am a former westporter – sadly – we live in Florida now and I visit Westport in the summer. I occasionally go to Sherwood island and pay upwards of $18 to go in. $18! And lie on a beach surrounded by stinking goose poop! In Florida, I pay $2 at a state beach and am surrounded by the sights, sounds and smells of the amazing ocean there. With the wealth that is collected for prohibitive parking costs to us -now – out of towners the least you could do is clean that POOP up!

  24. For what it is worth . . . a number of years ago I spoke with a gentleman sitting in the seat next to me on a flight to Bermuda. He told me that his business was “renting out” Swans to golf courses. Supposedly, the Canada Geese will not come near any areas where there are Swans. Come to think of it, I lived on Roosevelt Road near the Yacht Basin in the late 40’s and 50’s and never saw one. The first time I ever saw them was when we moved to Milford. But I do remember Swans that would swim in the yacht basin and in front of Compo Beach.