Plastic Coyotes Protect Middletown Park From Geese
Pretty much everyone has heard of a scarecrow, but have you ever heard of a scare coyote? The city of Middletown has come up with a unique looking solution to a rampant goose situation in the Butternut Hollow Park by placing fake plastic coyotes all around the park to keep them away from designated areas. The goal is not to eliminate the geese from the park, but to stop droppings from causing deleterious effects like algae blooms.
According to a report from the Hartford Courant, the city buys the fake coyotes from Dicks Sporting Goods at around $130 a pop, and they have a poseable tail that moves in the wind for a more realistic effect. While coyotes are not exactly known for their smarts – at least in the cartoons – geese have seemingly outwitted the plastic predators: “One day last week as a few families were visiting the playground, the flock walked from an open area across the street from the park past the fake coyotes to the side of the pond abutting an apartment complex, seemingly cautious of the decoy but still undeterred.”
Increased park use back to top
The city has focused so much attention on this one park because there have been extensive renovations at the park, which have led to increased use by residents. Of the many projects part of the renovation include stocking the pond with fish, a brand new playground, walking paths, and a pavilion picnicking area. Because of the investment in public use, the park’s managers felt it was important to keep the geese away from areas where humans would be playing and eating.
But one of the other reasons to keep the geese away is because of how nutrient rich geese droppings are. As noted in the Courant piece, the droppings are essentially a type of manure that act as plant food. When the water in the pond gets oversaturated it leads to algae blooms, which can be detrimental to the stocked fish, and the entire ecosphere in the pond.
Since the program has started, the algae levels are down, and human use is up, proving once again that what is good for the goose is good for the gander.