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.

The Scoop

Ever wish you had a smart, savvy friend with the inside line on what's happening around the Capital Region? You know, the kind of stuff that makes your life just a little bit better? Yeah, we do, too. That's why we created All Over Albany. Find out more.

Recently on All Over Albany

Stuff to do this weekend

Welcome to that transitional weekend when we go from falling leaves to holiday lights. This is also the last weekend before the holiday craziness sets... (more)

Morning Blend

Trial in the death of Noel Alkaramla The jury in now deliberating in the the trial of Johnny Oquendo -- accused of killing Noel Alkaramla... (more)

Today's moment of architecture

Architecture moods around West Capitol Park Thursday night: The Capitol: LOOK AT ME! The Smith Building: I just want to efficiently finish this file and... (more)

The Regrettes at The Low Beat

Garage rock band The Regrettes are set to play a show at The Low Beat December 6. Tickets are $10 and available online. The band's... (more)

The Women of Schuyler Mansion

The Schuyler Mansion has closed for general admission for the winter season, but it will still be open in the coming months for special tours.... (more)

Recent Comments

My grandmother has Alzheimers and sometimes comes to stay with us in Troy. Last week the absolutely highlight of her day was seeing the hundreds of crows that came streaming by the window at our apartment. I watched her go from completely unresponsive to engaged... stringing questions together and returning to her old joyful self for the half hour she watched those birds was enough to endear crows to me forever.

If you see someone running around throwing bird seed in Riverfront Park yelling "COME ON DOWN, BIRD FRIENDS!", it's me.

A few more details about the proposed mixed-use development near St. Peter's hospital

...has 18 comments, most recently from jsc

The ethics of dropping your dog's poop in a neighbor's garbage can

...has 38 comments, most recently from Howz

Today's moment of architecture

...has 1 comment, most recently from BS

The Regrettes at The Low Beat

...has 1 comment, most recently from Brian

Looking ahead on the future of the Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail

...has 4 comments, most recently from jsc