We seem to have a goose problem on our condo lawn this spring.
One of our neighbours took this photo a week or so ago:
One of the reasons the geese have been attracted to the lawn is that for more than a week there was snow almost everywhere else in the area, and the heat from the underground parking had melted the snow here, providing the geese with easy access to a large open stretch of grass.
Another reason is that our building is just across the street from a small park by the river. Hundreds, if not thousands, of geese seem to spend the winter on or near the river instead of flying south.
A third reason the geese have been hanging out on the condo lawn is that some unthinking resident(s) thought it was nice or cute or something to throw food out to the geese. A memo has been circulated asking people not to do that anymore.
Having geese on the lawn is something new here, I think. At least I don't remember having seen geese on the lawn until this spring.
Geese on a lawn, especially when there are hundreds of them, leave a LOT of goose poop, tear up the lawn, and generally make a mess of things. And after they are entrenched in an area, it is difficult to get them to move.... especially once they start nesting. So I have taken it upon myself to try to discourage them from staying.
I looked into it a bit and discovered from this source that one effective way to get rid of the geese is to hector/haze/harass them -- chase them away anytime they come around; don't let them get settled in.
I did that once or twice a day for a couple of days, but they kept coming back. And so on Friday I began a concerted effort. Anytime I saw them, even only a few of them, I went down to the lawn and chased them away. By the end of the day, I had gone down to chase them 10 different times that I can remember. They were persistent buggers, but by mid-afternoon, they seemed to have settled for staying in the park across the street.
Alas, the geese returned in the late afternoon. I was able to chase them off the lawn and down the street several times, but I couldn't get them to fly away, and so, of course, they returned. I persisted, though, and made sure they were gone before sundown.
On Saturday, at first we didn't have more than a few geese at a time, and I was right on the spot to chase them away. Their numbers were greatly diminished, and chasing them away was much easier. I was pretty confident. I thought I saw the light at the end of the tunnel [a phrase uttered by General Westmoreland about Vietnam and properly derided by those of us opposed to the war].
However, by mid-afternoon, the recalcitrants had returned, albeit on the far south end of the lawn. I could move them off the lawn and down the block, but they wouldn't fly away. I got 'em all to fly away on the second foray against them, though, half an hour later.
At their peak on Friday, the flock was about 150 or more. The most persistent bunch that day, though, seemed to be about 50-strong. Early Saturday, I don't think there were ever more than 10-12 of them; the mid-afternoon group was no larger than about 40.
This morning about 30 of the rotten buggers showed up while I was still in my pyjamas. I quickly dressed and went forth for the morning assault. They didn't expect me to chase them very far, I guess. They tried to settle on the downslope of the lawn, but I shooed them farther, and so they all squatted in the street.
I sensed they were just waiting for me to leave so they could return, but I didn't give up. I kept chasing them, halfway into the park. I couldn't get them to fly away, but I noticed that all but about 10 of them were gone from the park by the time I had returned to our unit on the 6th floor.
However, sure as shinola, within a half hour five of them had decided to try the lawn again. I went down and chased them, along with all 25 it turned out, back farther into the park.
As I was coming back into the building, I was greeted by a resident who smiled and asked me if I'd been out chasing birds again. It took me five minutes to catch onto the double entendre. I gather many of the residents here have enjoyed the "entertainment" I have provided.
It has been hard work, running at the geese and trying to scare them enough to get them to move (and preferably fly away). Fortunately my energy levels have been growing after a month of this. And I think I have had some limited success; the numbers seem to be diminishing.
Apparently my strategy of running at them, yelling and whistling, and waving my arms is an accepted and acceptable method of encouraging them to leave. From the US Humane Society [Via MA]:
Frightening noises work much better if the geese see a mobile threat such as people shooing them.
There is more from this site:
» Why Do Canada Geese Like Urban Areas?
» Plan Ahead: How and When to Get Started
» Addle Goose Eggs to Limit Flock Growth
» Scare Geese Away Humanely
» Keep Geese Away by Changing the Habitat
» Killing Doesn't Work: The Problem with Goose Roundups
I wonder if maybe I could buzz the geese with a good-sized remote-control helicopter. I bought a remote-controlled helicopter at Christmas, but it isn't big enough to handle even a slight breeze of more than a couple of kmh. Maybe a bigger one would do the job, and I could just chase the geese while sitting on my balcony.
I don't know for sure, but perhaps my limited successes derive from wearing my scary, goose-chasing hat:
.... to be continued?