Going to the dogs

otto geese laser

Dogs equipped with lasers might sound over the top. But the Canada goose is a persistent foe.

Green Island mayor Ellen McNulty-Ryan and her trusty pyrotechnic gun serve as one of this region's bulwarks against the invading hordes of Canada geese -- and crows! -- as highlighted by the Times Union again today. And the TU story prompted a range of reactions: tsk-tsking, tittering, Oh-Green-Island-ing, and ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Our reaction: Green Island should go to the dogs.

Really. The town/village should get some dogs. Border collies, probably.

Canada geese are a problem in many places, and people have tried all sorts of ways to scare off the birds. And there's research that indicates using dogs is the most effective option.

Geological Survey published a study in the journal Human-Wildlife Conflicts about attempts to disperse Canada geese at two sites in western New York using a range of methods, including pyrotechnics, remote-controlled boats, lasers, and border collies. A clip from the paper:

Geese were hazed on 378 separate occasions (Figure 2). Techniques most frequently used were lasers (n = 134), border collies (n = 113), laser/pyrotechnic combinations (n = 54), border collie and remote-controlled boat combinations (n = 37), and pyrotechnics (n = 27) alone. Border collie and remote-controlled boat combinations removed >90% of geese in 97% of events, while border collies alone were successful in 94% of events. Laser and pyrotechnic combinations removed >90% of geese in only 64% of events; lasers were successful in 64% of events, and pyrotechnics in 59% of events.

Of course, this leads to only one conclusion: Green Island should hire a pack of border collies equipped with lasers and remote-controlled boats. Because obviously.

It's notable that the use pyrotechnics was the least effective intervention. The researchers cite other studies indicating geese habituate to the noise. (It's a lot harder to get used to a border collie charging at you -- that's a lot more likely to press the "DANGER! DANGER! PREDATOR!" button.)

A bunch of places have used dogs to disperse birds. The National Park Service recently started employing them to get geese off the National Mall in DC. And many years ago, in another media life, we reported a story about two border collies whose job it was to keep geese off the field at a small airport. Those were some happy dogs. We get to chase things every day? Professionally? YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES!

All that said, Canada geese are persistent. That paper cited above notes that even though the dogs and other interventions managed to scare off the geese, the birds often didn't move far -- less than a mile on average -- "and without continual harassment they will likely return."

Earlier on AOA: Begun again the War on Crows has

Say Something!

We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.

What's All Over Albany?

All Over Albany is for interested and interesting people in New York's Capital Region. In other words, it's for you. It's kind of like having a smart, savvy friend who can help you find out what's up. Oh, and our friends call us AOA.

Search

Recently on All Over Albany

Photos from the 2018 Women's March in Albany

Thousands of people gathered in West Capitol Park in Albany Saturday afternoon for a second Women's March, a follow-up to a similar event a year... (more)

A big step forward for the Quackenbush Center mixed-use project, and other exciting tales of the Albany Planning Board

That big mixed-use project proposed for just north of Quackenbush Square in downtown Albany took an important step forward this week when the city planning... (more)

Belt Line 3

The owners of Roux in Slingerlands are planning to open a new restaurant in a space on Hamilton Street in Albany, just up from the... (more)

Stuff to do this weekend

We're in that January lull in the Capital Region -- those couple of weeks after the holidays when things slow down just a touch. But... (more)

Morning Blend

Call for Troy police reform + Prompted by the recent state Attorney General's office report about the fatal police shooting of Edson Thevenin, activists gathered... (more)