DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Canadian geese have returned to the Miami Valley, setting up shop wherever they feel like it, causing problems from overpopulation to feces.

Canadian geese are protected birds under the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and by the state of Ohio. It is illegal to kill, injure a goose, their goslings, or nests. Now they are returning to Dayton and have been nesting from March until June, the months they are most aggressive.

Dr. Don Cipollini, Professor of Biology at Wright State University, said, “It would not come after you for any reason other than when they feel threatened, when they feel that their nest is being threatened in particular.”

Geese graze on grass, and can strip lawns down to the soil.

Amanda Bennett, Ohio State University Miami County Extension Agriculture and Natural Resource Educator, said, “It can cause erosion problems, it can cause damage to landscape and you have to repair or replace the grass, which can be a cost.”

If untreated, a pair of geese can turn into 50 within a few years, increasing the need for food, and feces.

Cipollini said, “Those feces end up getting washed into the nearby waterbody and that can fuel things like algal blooms, you know, harmful algal blooms and things like that by adding too many nutrients to that water body.”

If non-lethal scare tactics do not work, a special permit can be obtained, and professionals can come in with dogs to herd geese away from their nests.

Stan Custer, owner of Geese Management Services, said, “I can get a special permit to go in and drill holes in the eggs, which will keep them from hatching, but the geese don’t know they’re bad. So, they just think this is a bad spot to try to nest.”

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources urges people to not feed the geese. Geese can feed themselves and feeding them only attracts more.