Urban Wildlife

swan sitting beside pond

Wildlife occurs naturally in cities and towns, often without any issues. Often, feeding wildlife is the main cause of animal / human conflict. However, issues can often arise when intentional feeding (leaving out grain, bread, nuts etc.) or unintentional feeding (outdoor pet food, compost, unsecured gardens or garbage, fish ponds) occurs. This type of unnatural feeding can have significant negative consequences for the health and behaviour of wildlife and can cause challenges for property owners.

Feeding wildlife (either intentionally or accidentally through outdoor pet food, compost or garbage) can:

  • cause wild animals to lose their natural fear of humans
  • be unhealthy for animals
  • make animals dependent on human food sources – this may cause them to lose some of their ability to survive in the wild, resulting in dangerous encounters with people and other animals
  • lead to property damage and unwelcome house guests
  • put domestic animals, such as dogs and cats, at risk physically, or expose them to disease

For information on control of nuisance wildlife, contract the Ministry of Natural Resources at 1-800-667-1940. All costs regarding nuisance wildlife are the property owner's responsibility.


After much consideration, the City of Woodstock will be saying farewell to the pair of Mute Swans who call Southside Park home. Swans were introduced in 1998 as part of efforts to control the overpopulation of geese in the park, these non-native birds have not had the desired effect on the number of geese and may in fact be negatively impacting the park’s natural ecosystem.

Fortunately, the City of Stratford was happy to welcome Woodstock’s swans into their flock. Staff worked with their experienced team to ensure a smooth transition to their new home in March 2024.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the City getting rid of the swans?

The decision to end the swan program was made for a number of reasons, including the health and safety of both the swans and City staff and there is no evidence to suggest the program has been successful in reducing the population of Canada Geese in the park.

The swans are returning to the City of Stratford, where we initially purchased them as they are looking to add to their flock. Stratford has an extensive swan program and well equipped facilities to provide good care for the birds.  

Even if they don't scare away geese, why couldn't we keep the swans? 
Staff must follow strict regulations under the permit required to posses Mute Swans. Their wings must be clipped or pinioned to prevent their escape. They must also be housed in a heated facility for the winter. Staff do follow best practices for capturing the swans each fall but are often injured in the process as the swans resist capture. There is also the risk of injuring the birds. 

Canada Geese

Canada geese are commonly found in many Cities across Canada often making their homes in parks, sportsfields and along shorelines. Geese thrive in urban areas where they have access to food and limited predators. 

Nesting geese can become aggressive when defending their nest sites. People are encouraged to keep a safe distance, especially in the spring when they have young goslings. Please do not feed geese. Human food provides very little nutritional content and can lead to malnourishment and health problems. It can also increase the spread of disease and pollute the environment. 

Canada geese FAQs 


Coyotes live and co-exist with humans in urban natural areas. For more information check the Ministry of Natural Resources website Preventing and Managing Conflicts with Coyotes, Wolves and Foxes. If you have concerns about a coyote or require further information call the Ministry of Natural Resources at 1-800-667-1940.

Contact Us

© 2017 City of Woodstock P.O. Box 1539, 500 Dundas Street, Woodstock, ON N4S 0A7


Phone: 519-539-1291
Email: General Information

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