Shadow coyotes control bird population
No, your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you.
That is a shadow of a coyote that you have been seeing at Oak Hollow Marina and Campground. And for good reason, too.
The cutouts are placed around the dock area to control the number of geese and seagulls in the area and to keep them off of the docks. The cutouts, given to the marina by Larry Edwards, started out as an experiment, but they seem to be working.
“We had an issue with both the geese and seagulls for some years. They would continually mess up the docks and we wanted to look at alternatives to dealing with the problem,” said Park Supervisor Brad Mendenhall.
Medenhall said the mess the birds left behind became a daily maintenance chore, where crews had to brush and sweep the docks. While the docks still have to be cleaned from time to time, the cutouts have reduced the time and money spent cleaning them.
“We installed the dogs and quickly learned there were different techniques that would be beneficial. We wanted to allow them to swivel and to bounce, to make them almost 3-D,” Mendenhall said. “We have seen a significant increase in the geese and seagull population. When we put them in, they were 95 percent effective. We’ve learned that if we want to keep them as effective as possible, we need to move their locations up and down the docks.”
The “coyotes,” dubbed Red Wolf and Wolfpack, have become celebrities in their own right, according to Mendenhall. He said it not only throws the birds off, but attracts human visitors as well.
“I see a lot of people taking pictures with them or little kids scared that it might be a real dog until they touch them,” Mendenhall said. “People will take photos and are very inquisitive as to why there are dogs are out there. They have become our celebrities.”
The technique is being tried across the nation, in states like New York, Missouri, Massachusetts and Kentucky, to keep geese and their droppings away from areas.
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