Geese deterrent goes green

September 24, 2019 — Defence Stories

Auther: Peter Mallett

Solar powered strobe lights have been introduced to five areas at the base in the ongoing effort to deter non-migratory Canada Geese and the accumulation of their feces.

The quickly-flashing nighttime lights look similar to the lights on a police car roof or fire engine. They were first installed on a trial basis by Base Administration in February after complaints about nuisance geese nesting in front of the Formation Chaplain’s Office and the tracking of feces inside the building.

The lights have proven to be an effective deterrent at warding off the geese, says LCdr (Retired) Jeff Thomson, Base Administration Project Officer. The lights were also introduced to protect the lawns and walkways in front of Nelles Block, the running track and volleyball court near the Naden Athletic Centre, the picnic area behind the Gun Room at Work Point, and the baseball fields on Colville Road.

“The lights don’t affect people but are very annoying to geese because they have extremely sensitive eyes. So far, the lights have proven to be a very effective way of reducing the problem,” said Thomson. “It’s humane and environmentally friendly.”

The six lights cost about $2,000. They emit a series of quick flashes every two seconds, similar to a strobe light and provide 360 degrees of coverage during nighttime hours. The lights are intended to disrupt nesting geese, says Thomson, making them uncertain about staying in the area.

Thomson has been working closely with Formation Safety and Environment (FSE) who are monitoring the effectiveness of the lights in the test areas. FSE staff have been gathering quantitative data to determine if there is a reduction in the density of geese feces at select test sites near the lights.  If the final results demonstrate a decrease in geese population and their impact on base grounds, the lights could be deemed another valuable tool in reducing goose-related issues in those high-conflict locations.

The non-native Canada Goose was introduced to lower Vancouver Island over 50 years ago for hunting, but changes in hunting regulations and a lack of natural predators have allowed their populations to increase exponentially. The high density of their feces on walkways and high traffic areas such as parklands is an ongoing public health and safety concern across Greater Victoria.

Both migratory and non-migratory Canada geese are protected under Environment Canada’s Migratory Bird Act.

For more information about The Capital Region District’s Regional Goose Management Strategy visit their website: www.crd.bc.ca/project/past-capital-projects-and-initiatives/goose-management.html.

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