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'Geese are very opportunistic nesters': What to know before shooing them away during nesting season

Posted at 6:03 PM, Apr 16, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-16 19:03:35-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Geese have been known to sometimes pick odd spots to nest, but under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, geese are federally protected no matter where they lay their eggs.

  • Unusual spots to nest include on balconies, in front of businesses and in flowerpots.
  • Nebraska Game and Parks shares why geese do this and how they're federally protected no matter where they nest.
  • If you have an issue with a nest, you can contact Nebraska Game and Parks at 402-471-0641.


Geese are annoying, loud, and often selfish. Despite their lack of popularity, they are wildlife and protected under federal law when it comes to nesting.

It's springtime, which means the geese have laid their eggs here by the lake and along the Papio trail.

"They're very territorial and very aware of... Once the little babies are hatched as a family, they really protect each other"

You may have seen them nesting in other spots that are a little unusual, like on balconies, in flowerpots and in front of businesses.

But why do they do this?

"Well, I can tell you, Canada geese are very opportunistic nesters.”

Dusty Schelbitzki with Nebraska Game and Parks (NGP) tells me, geese like to pick spots that are isolated, close to water or close to a food source, and mulch in flowerpots can be great nesting material.

"Sometimes you run into some issues where they nest too close to a door. Well, they probably picked that location on a weekend when nobody was around, and they can cause some issues that way."

Issue or not, NGP says don't touch it.

Under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, Canadian Geese are federally protected and if you disturb a nest without a permit, you can be fined.

But it's something not everyone knows about.

Did you ever know they were federally protected?

“Had no idea… and I think Nebraska is really - I really think we're aware and do want to preserve as much of that as we can."

Even if they are geese? "

“That's right and even if they are irritating and there's poop everywhere,” laughed Davis.

If an issue does persist you can contact NPG to help at 402-471-0641.

So, while their nesting season may be ending, Game and parks says it's important to keep your distance from babies and their mamas. Don't give them food or water and try not to irritate them.