Wildlife Damage Management, Internet Center for




Date of this Version

January 1994


The term waterfowl is properly applied only to ducks, geese, and swans. In North America, most waterfowl are migratory, flying long distances in the spring and fall between the summer breeding grounds and wintering areas. Waterfowl, as their name implies, are most often found near water. The food of individual waterfowl species ranges from fish to insects to plants in various combinations, depending on availability. Waterfowl are normally monogamous and solitary nesters. Goose problems in urban and suburban areas are primarily caused by giant Canada geese, which are probably the most adaptable of all waterfowl. In the United States, migratory birds, including most waterfowl, as well as their nests and eggs, are federally protected (50 CFR 10.12) by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) (16 USC).