Lake George Nuisance Wildlife

How to Deal with Lake George Nuisance Species

Don't feed the ducks!

By feeding ducks (or geese, or gulls) things like popcorn, bread, crackers and potato chips, we interrupt their instinctual habits and hurt their nutrition.  They become less healthy, dependent on our handouts and more harmful to our environment, including to our water quality. Learn more from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.

What is a nuisance species?

When wildlife is overabundant or inhabits areas in close proximity to people, it can be a nuisance, creating property damage or concerns for health and safety. A nuisance species is one that interferes with human activities. Nuisance species of concern in the Lake George watershed are Canada geese and double-crested cormorants.

Canada Geese

The sight of the distinctive V-formation of a flock of Canada geese flying high overhead in spring or fall is a sign of the changing seasons.

But in recent years, flocks of local-nesting or “resident” geese have appeared in New York State, including at Lake George, where they stay year round.

Because a goose can produced about a pound of droppings per day, people in areas with resident geese quickly find them to be a nuisance, and they can also impact water quality.

There are many ways to discourage geese from settling in your area. Unfortunately, there is no one way that always works.  Persistent use of multiple methods are generally necessary.

Canada gees are protected by both federal and state regulations; the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) office is the clearinghouse for information and permits for dealing with nuisance geese.

Canada geese on lawn

Canadian geese on the lawn near a Lake George beach.

Double-crested Cormorants

Cormorants are large, fish-eating birds that nest colonially in areas with abundant fish, often in the same habitats used by other colonial-nesting bird species.

Colonial birds nest in very high densities in relatively small areas, with as many as several thousand pairs nesting side by side. This helps them to exploit an abundant food source and avoid predators, especially if suitable habitat exists on islands far from land.

Cormorant populations have increased dramatically over the past 30 years, and they now threaten other waterbird species and impact fisheries in several areas of New York State.

Cormorants damage islands, kill vegetation and scare away other nesting birds. Their impact on the Lake George fishery is unclear, however declines in sport fish populations in other lakes in New York have been documented.

The cormorants present on Lake George the last few years are most likely coming from Lake Champlain, which has a much larger cormorant problem.

On Lake Champlain, a coordinated effort of state and federal agencies is making progress on reducing the cormorant population.

Learn more about cormorant management in New York State from the NY Department of Environmental Conservation.