A Canada goose was taken into custody Thursday charged with assault, loitering, littering and generally being a nuisance at a Lebanon townhome community.
The goose arrived Tuesday at Hartmann Plantation to the surprise of the residents there. According to manager Tammy Williams, the goose quickly wore out her welcome and removal steps were started after the goose bit one resident and left droppings most everywhere she went.
After contacting animal control and state wildlife officials, Williams found out the goose was federally protected, which meant it couldn’t be removed by anyone unless they had a federal permit.
That’s when Williams called the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
USDA public affairs specialist Tanya Espinosa affirmed relocating a Canada goose isn’t done by just anyone.
“There are a lot of rules and regulations,” Espinosa said. “In some cases, there are some states that won’t allow relocation. You have to get the permit from Fish and Wildlife Service because geese are protected under the Migratory Bird Act. There are also private agencies that can remove geese.”
According to Espinosa, the goose at Hartmann was going through molting, and that’s why she took up residence there.
“They go through a molting period, lose feathers that help them to fly and grow new ones,” she said. “They become protective over the place where they choose to molt.
“Some are more aggressive than others. They spit and bite. They will go after people when they determine those people come too close.”
Espinosa said the molting season in Tennessee is generally from June 15 through July 15, however, there are generally a few geese that molt early or late.
Espinosa said the Hartmann goose was also likely a resident as opposed to a migratory bird.
“There are millions of Canada geese across the U.S., and they are an invasive species,” she said. “In this particular case, it had attacked a couple of people.
“We don’t just go in and remove wildlife. We have to be requested to go in and remove animals.”
On Thursday, Williams met with a USDA APHIS wildlife biologist who quickly captured the goose and put her in a box for relocation. Espinosa said the biologists who catch and relocate animals such as the goose prefer to do it humanely and using non-lethal options.
Espinosa said state wildlife officials chose Cheatham Lake as a relocation site, and the goose was taken there.
Williams said the APHIS charged Hartmann Plantation about $150 for the relocation.
“Congress provides our agency with a set funding to provide certain activities, however, wildlife removal is not one of these activities,” Espinosa said. “Congress then directed us to enter into cooperative agreements to provide wildlife damage resolutions with those that requested it. This situation falls under wildlife damage resolutions and, as such, required a cooperative agreement.”
According to USDA, there are an estimated 3.6 million resident Canada geese in North America. Migratory Canada geese move between breeding grounds in Canada and overwintering areas in the U.S., but do not nest in the lower 48 states.