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Regulatory Overview

Federal and state regulations for the control of Canada geese are derived from the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Federal regulations are established by the United States Fish & Wildlife Service (the Service). California state regulations are established by the Department of Fish & Wildlife.

The original Treaty provides for the “Establishment of a Federal prohibition, unless permitted by regulations, to “pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill, … migratory birds . . . or any part, nest, or egg of any such bird.”

was expanded upon to include “All control activities, except those intended to either scare geese out of, or preclude them from using, a specific area, such as harassment, habitat management, or repellents, require a Federal permit issued by the Service.”

While the Treaty refers to migratory birds, the statutes also apply to resident Canada geese. In 2006/2007, the Service addressed concerns of some states for the growing populations of resident Canada geese and implemented rules to allow some states more flexibility in their geese management, including depredation orders for airport and agricultural needs.

Still, all Canada geese are federally and state protected and require permits for the “taking” (gathering & relocation or killing) of these birds, including their nests and eggs.

In 2009, the Service implemented an Internet registration for federal permitting for resident Canada geese nest and egg destruction. Most California property owners, including those in the Sacramento area, also need a state permit to destroy Canada geese nests and eggs. See California Department of Fish & Wildlife below.

Regulatory Links

United States Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) links:

An advisory body to the USFWS.Similar advisory bodies exist for the Atlantic, Central and Mississippi Flyways.

In general, state regulations follow federal regulations for the control of Canada geese.  State permits are typically required in addition to federal permits.  There are however 18 California counties for which state permits are not required to destroy nuisance Canada geese nests and eggs.  They are the nine San Francisco Bay Area counties, each successive coastal county south to San Diego and San Benito County.  State permits to destroy nuisance Canada Geese nests and eggs are required in Sacramento, Placer, El Dorado, Nevada and Yolo counties (see California Code of Regulations, Title 14, Section 503, Crop Damage and Nuisance Canada Geese).