Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Dock Owners vs. Canadian Geese, Sea Gulls, et. al.

Canadian Geese are certainly not popular in my neck of the water. Their most serious crime seems to be …..is there a delicate way to say this?…..their incredible talent for producing feces. If there were a machine to produce the stuff, it would be hard to build one more efficient than a Canadian goose. An offshoot to this propensity is the potential for increasing the bacteria count in the water to a level such that swimming is not healthy. In their defense, except on golf courses, they do not seem guilty of actual verbal or physical assaults to humans near the water.

Sea Gulls have a similar, though lesser, ability, and are therefore easy to lump into the same category as geese.

Many self respecting property owners are not willing to put up with such foul behavior, and they have many weapons with which to wage war against these pests. The fake owl seems to have become a useless and obsolete weapon, but a new iteration of the same idea is the fake floating swan. From a distance, they are pretty convincing. Had me fooled the first time. I wonder if geese and gulls can figure out that they never move.

The primary beach protection is a short fence a few feet from the water line running the length of the beach. I love to kayak around the lake and see a small group of geese gathered on the land side of one of these fences. It seems that geese can attack by air as well as by sea.

The favorite for docks seems to be a device something like a helicopter rotor. It turns about four inches above the surface of the dock. It consists of a stiff wire on a pivot in the middle with small, red plastic wind catching devices on each end. These rotate with any appreciable wind and would presumably cut any presumptuous goose off at the knees. As long as the owners don’t attempt to walk on their own docks, these contraptions work fine.

A more sinister scheme involves the use of string in a web pattern. It looks like any birds foolish enough to come in for a landing would get entangled in the web with dire consequences. The threat of such a catastrophe seems sufficient to deter all wildlife.

A more appealing approach is the floaty toy alligator tied to the dock. Even birds hailing from North of Tallahassee instinctively know they should not be messing with gators, and having not ever seen a real one, the inflatable produces sufficient fear.

A far more innovative design has the look of a large hawk-shaped bird flying in random patterns about eight feet above the dock. Essentially, it is a kite disguised as a predatory raptor. It is suspended on a string, attached to a tall bendy fiberglass pole. It is a really clever and elegant design.

Call me a peacenik, hippy, or what you will, but I find that I am a conscientious objector in this war. I don’t like cleaning up after geese and gulls any more than the next guy, but do we really need this attempt at species cleansing? Can’t we share the lake with the indigenous wildlife? The geese and gull haters need to realize that their attacks are not surgical; all species of birds are affected by their assaults. Those who frighten off geese and gulls never have the pleasure of seeing other birds. I am visited by many different species of ducks, the occasional cormorant or kingfisher, and my favorite, great blue herons. Although I am not a placard carrying animal lover, I am not willing to accept collateral damage in a war against goose poop.

I would rather have the blue herons and put up with some mess. With that being said, I see six geese, who somehow got an advanced copy of this posting, out there on my dock right now... taunting me. Damn, I need to go clean my dock.

1 comment:

  1. I had the same problem with geese, so frustrating! We've had great success with these Dori Poles: www.doripole.com