Canada geese are a protected species under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, but the act makes very little provision for residents, businesses and learning institutions to protect their property against the destructive living patterns of these birds. Recently, Chief Operating Officer Tim Philley received an email that changed everything.
“[ORU Athletic Director] Mike Carter forwarded me an email he had received from a friend about a device called “Away With Geese,” said Philley. “We had tried a number of things including professionally trained dogs and bringing swans on campus, which are known to be aggressive toward the geese. Unfortunately you have to be constant with the dogs and eventually the budget runs out, or predatory animals like foxes get to the swans, and the geese come back.”
According to the device’s website, geese have highly sensitive vision, and at night the solar-powered devices emit a gentle amber beam at about eye-level for the fowl. The completely humane and interference-free method relies on geese’ tendency to spend their days relatively nearby an area they designate as safe and comfortable for nighttime. The low-level light is noninvasive and not dangerous to humans or other animals. It disrupts the geese’s daily routine just enough to send them looking for another area to take up residence, and is completely compliant to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
“To this point it has worked extremely well,” said Philley. “We are moving into winter as of now, but we have seen very few geese in the high traffic areas where we have installed this. It doesn’t mean they won’t come on campus initially in the spring, but they won’t stay because of the lights. It has been a very cheap fix to a big issue.”
Philley sent Google map images to the “Away With Geese” team, and they helped him develop a plan of where to install the lights on campus. For under $300 per unit, the university has found a sustainable answer to an ongoing and very expensive problem for less than $4,000.
“One of the things that made this very enticing is the fact that it is 100 percent guaranteed by the company,” said Philley. “If it hadn’t worked there is no financial risk for the university, “Away With Geese” will refund every dollar we spent.”