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August 26, 2013

Fake coyotes do the job in Atkinson

Coyote decoys can be part of the solution

(Continued)

It’s not just the geese who have been fooled.

“A few people’s dogs got startled,” he said. “One dog even bit part of the tail off of one of them. We were able to reattach the knob of the tail.”

But it seems people haven’t been as easily fooled.

“We let everyone in the condo know that we were putting them up,” he said. “It seems people are getting a kick out of it.”

They weren’t getting a kick out of the geese.

“We’ve had a bad goose problem,” board member Dick Forgione said. “There are goose droppings all over the place and it is making the pond smelly.”

Bryant Woods residents aren’t alone.

The number of nuisance geese complaints is growing, along with the resident Canada goose population, according to Carrie Stengel, acting state director of USDA Wildlife Services.

She said coyote decoys can be effective — to a point.

“Geese are very smart and you need to use an integrated approach,” Stengel said.

That can mean habitat modification, including not cutting the grass, fencing, and auditory and visual harassment, she said.

Harassment can include pyrotechnics, scary-eye balloons, Mylar balloons, air horns.

Most complaints come in June and July, Stengel said, when the geese physically can’t fly. The goslings haven’t developed enough and the adults are molting, she said.

“People should start harassing as soon as they show up,” she said. “In summer, when geese can’t fly, you’re stuck with them.”

Temporary fencing — netting, plastic fencing, snow fence — can work because the geese can’t hop over it.

Starting Sept. 3, Canada geese can be hunted. If local regulations allow, Stengel said, property owners can encourage hunters to set their sights there.

“In the fall, they’ll leave because they’re migrating or because of hunting pressure,” she said. “The resident Canada geese head to the seacoast for the winter.”

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