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How does one get rid of Canada geese?
The city has not yet released its solution to the flocks of geese of which visitors to the Hunter Park Community Center have complained because of their droppings on the children's playground and the birds' aggression.
However, the Internet has plenty of suggestions to offer to the city.
There are dogs, for example — real or plastic.
Many golf courses have had success with dogs, especially herding breeds that continually attempt to "round up" the geese. The geese get tired of this and leave, according to more than one website.
Some recommend using border collies, while others say medium-sized dogs, like a Labrador retriever or another bird dog should do the trick. Geese will attack smaller dogs and drive them away, one said.
Another site said people in New Jersey use plastic dogs which they periodically move around ponds and lake shores.
"Yup, plastic," one blogger wrote. "I have noticed where I have seen the poly dogs that the geese have pretty much retreated. You still see a few but nothing like the hordes of before. And the plastic dogs don't require feeding or vet bills. Try it."
If that fails, there's the rubber duck trick.
"One of the factories in a town nearby had a big problem with "Canadian" geese in their water pond. They got some type of rubber goose from somewhere, and laid them on their sides (where they would appear to be dead). It did get rid of the geese eventually, but it sure looked funny with all those seemingly dead ducks laying all around on the lawn. I guess they instinctively avoid water where they see dead fowl, thinking the water is unsafe," wrote another journalist in Georgia.
From duck repellents to noisemakers to a life-sized floating replica of an alligator, the solutions are various.
The website absolutebirdcontrol.com, offers tips on habitat modification, scare tactics, humane removal, goose deterrents and goose repellents.
The Goose-B-Gone Super Sonic system is designed for large open spaces like Hunter Park. Goose distress calls are broadcast every 10 minutes to alert geese of danger. Whey they hear the calls, their natural instinct is to flee the area, according to the site. The Goose-B-Gone system is weatherproof and can be programmed to turn on or off at night. The system comes with an internal speaker and two external speakers that can cover up to three acres but the city could purchase two additional speakers for coverage of up to five acres.
They also offer a coyote decoy and a scarecrow motion-activated sprinkler.
Valli Caldwell, co-operator of Critter Control Wildlife Management Services of Atlanta with her husband, emailed information on birds at airport.
"Although it is a park, the geese are obviously attracted to the water source (lake) and abundant food source (parents and children feeding them bread and crackers, etc.)," she wrote. "From my experience at a large park in Roswell that I have gone to for 10 years, the geese come to rely on the snacks as a reliable food source, even if it's not healthy for them."
She said another problem could be the result of rescuers dropping off geese and ducks from other locations.
"If there are injured geese there, that is a good sign (that this is happening). Some of the geese in Roswell were a direct result of rescuers meaning well and dropping rehabilitated birds off there but not considering they would breed with others therefore creating others that will stay in the area and so on," she wrote.
Caldwell said the only change she observed was a sign the city of Roswell put out warning visitors to not drop off sick or injured animals. As the geese population increased a few years later, Caldwell said the city placed a large permanent sign stating all the reasons to not feed the geese and ducks and frequently patrolled to make sure people were complying with it.
Rid-A-Critter Nuisance Animal and Pest Control does not specialize in geese problems but referred the Sentinel to John Underwood, owner of Atlanta Animal Evictions, a herding and removal service.
As far as geese removal goes, Underwood said the city has missed its mark.
Geese in Georgia go into full molt, losing their feathers by the end of May until around July 15, when the feathers have grown back.
"Now they can fly, meaning you won't be able to catch them," Underwood said.
He also added another tidbit of information: each goose excretes about one to one and a half pounds of poop per day.
Next May 15 will be the next opportunity to remove the geese, said Underwood. Until then, visitors will have to keep watching where they step.
Credits: By Helen McCoy - Douglas County Sentinel