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Meet Canada's Goosebuster Drone

Soulskill posted about 6 months ago | from the playing-duck-duck-drone dept.

Canada 74

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Tyler LeBlanc reports that Ottawa has a problem — a goose problem. Every summer the wandering waterfowl return to the beaches that line the Ottawa River leaving high concentrations of geese poop on beaches and in shallow water, which can lead to outbreaks of infection in human populations, particularly children. In the past, the city has tried a number of different methods of ridding their beaches of the geese, but this year, they are going high-tech. Steve Wambolt, the founder of Aerial Perspective, modified a drone with some flashing lights and speakers and took to the skies. 'I took existing land-based anti-pest technology and put it on a helicopter,' says Wambolt. 'When I tested it at the beach a few days later it worked remarkably well.' Using pre-recorded predatory calls (video) from hawks, eagles, owls, ravens and even wolves, Wambolt stalks the beaches of Petrie Island in an attempt to scare the loitering geese away from the area for good."

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Who you gunna call? (2, Funny)

ArcadeNut (85398) | about 6 months ago | (#47026885)

Goosebusters!

Re:Who you gunna call? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 6 months ago | (#47028307)

Actually, it appears that product name is already taken:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

It's a stationary sound system that plays goose panic "phrases".

Re:Who you gunna call? (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 6 months ago | (#47029753)

I ain't 'fraid of no goose!

Re:Who you gunna call? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47030971)

I ain't 'fraid of no goose!

Apparently you've never encountered a gaggle of Canadian Geese. The humans should be banned from the shoreline of the Ottawa River if they had any sense. Just wait until the geese get hold of a humanoid making all manner of "rap" music and lyrics and unleash it upon the beach-goers. "Yo bitch! Looks like you be needn' some cucumber. Whore!"

Royal drone (1)

NotInHere (3654617) | about 6 months ago | (#47026893)

I guess this is a test for a drone protecting the royal swans [wikipedia.org] owned by HRH Queen Elizabeth II on the Thames.

Re:Royal drone (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 6 months ago | (#47027003)

So, let me get this straight - This story about using a drone to drive pest geese away from the shoreline of the Ottawa river in Canada somehow reminds you of a conservation effort where swans are banded by people in skiffs on the Thames river in England. Truly you have a dizzying intellect.

Re:Royal drone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47027167)

Shit, you didn't think of it...

Re:Royal drone (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 6 months ago | (#47027359)

Shit, you didn't think of it...

I thought of the many times I've seen beaches covered in goose poop, if that's what you mean.

Re:Royal drone (1)

NotInHere (3654617) | about 6 months ago | (#47027405)

All wild bird's poop is full of pathogens. I doubt that, if the goose poop carries some special illness in addition to the basic pathogens, it is harming the goose.
This story is about birds on a river, and swan upping, too. The only difference is that in swan upping the people take care of the birds, and in the story the people take care of the humans. I don't say that the drone is harming the goose or that the goose shouldn't be driven away from the beaches if they actually harm children.
I hope you can see the abstraction I have made.

Re:Royal drone (1)

Ol Biscuitbarrel (1859702) | about 6 months ago | (#47032961)

"swan-upping
The annual practice of catching the swans on the River Thames and marking them to indicate their ownership."

Thought that was perhaps akin to cow tipping at first...

Erm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47026917)

This serves a function, however it still doesn't seem all that polite to hungry geese on such a long migration. Can't say this is particularly groundbreaking either at this point with drones available off the shelf like bicycles and frozen mashed potatos. Honestly I wish I hadn't read this at all.

Re:Erm (1)

Barsteward (969998) | about 6 months ago | (#47030111)

plus it may just move the problem to someone else's district without really solving it

Or... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47026931)

Life has never been easy for geese, but this summer, geese who just want to poop in peace have a new problem. As if the humans infesting the beaches of the Ottawa river weren't bad enough, now they've developed an obnoxious new behavior -- flying a drone with flashing lights and speakers that pretends to be a predatory animal. Many geese are saying that something ought to be done about this invasive species, but the goose on the street doesn't see a problem. One local who agreed to be quoted for this story said, "HONK HONK HONK HONK HONK HONK," which is a fairly typical view around these parts.

Re:Or... (2)

penguinoid (724646) | about 6 months ago | (#47029357)

Many geese are saying that something ought to be done about this invasive species, but the goose on the street doesn't see a problem.

These geese don't know the half of it. The invasive species in question, thought to have originated in Africa and gone everywhere humans go, eating at their campsites and riding on their ships, is now causing the fastest mass extinction in history. You may have heard about mass extinctions causing a ~90% extinction rate -- well this one species is causing extinctions at a faster rate than any of those, and if it continues it will be the largest mass extinction in history. Worse yet, it is illegal in every country to hunt them, and if they make their home on a piece of land you're not allowed to use that land until they leave, and even then only with significant paperwork. They're not even endangered; they number over 7 billion, and are even thought to be impacting the global climate in a negative way, yet most nations have programs to provide them with food and assist their young and protect their habitat from any danger.

In the US, there is a large government program which keeps some of these in captivity, providing them food, water, and shelter -- over 2 million individuals at a staggering price of ~$30,000 each. This program has been widely criticized because, despite the large price tag, released individuals interact poorly with others of their kind and about half of them have to be returned to captivity. In recent years, funding for this program has been increased dramatically by this one initiative [wikipedia.org] .

Though some are concerned about their increasing population numbers, there is a huge public outcry whenever anyone suggests a program to reduce their numbers directly or by discouraging breeding. Some people have suggested at least relocating a few groups where they can't harm other species [wikipedia.org] , but so far these programs have little support and cannot be implemented. I strongly urge you to write to your representatives and demand something be done!

why not open a hunting season on them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47026973)

Why not use hunting as a form of population control? Goose can be tasty, and we can all holler out our windows "Boy! You there, fetch me a Goose."

Re:why not open a hunting season on them? (1)

plover (150551) | about 6 months ago | (#47027161)

Because the river runs through the middle of the city, and they don't want a bunch of guys firing guns there.

Re:why not open a hunting season on them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47027257)

If their geese are anything like the ones here, a machette and an orange vest with your urban hunting license should be adequate. Hunting didn't mean guns until the last blink of an eye in human evolution.

Re:why not open a hunting season on them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47027325)

And Geese taste like shit! That is why only poor people could afford them and not Turkey back in the day.

Re:why not open a hunting season on them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47027379)

That's not true. Geese are extremely delicious. And a whole one runs about $100. You can get a turkey for about $20.

Re:why not open a hunting season on them? (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about 6 months ago | (#47030221)

'back in the day' ?

Turkey is a "new world" bird, so was unknown in medieval Europe.

Re:why not open a hunting season on them? (2)

Sandman1971 (516283) | about 6 months ago | (#47029483)

Hate to break it to you, but the river doesn't run in the middle of the city. The river is a natural border between the cities of Ottawa and Hull, and the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. Where Petrie Island is (just about a mile from my house), there's nothing but woods on the other side of the river.

Re:why not open a hunting season on them? (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about 6 months ago | (#47030289)

Surely the birds shit on both sides of the river, disregarding the formal political boundaries of the National Capital Region?

If you read the article, GooseBuster is deploying in other locations besides Petrie, including the Gatineau side.

Shoot Them? (2)

brian.stinar (1104135) | about 6 months ago | (#47026975)

Why not shoot the geese? The article didn't say that they were protected, endangered, or otherwise not-shootable. Is the section of Ottaway the geese are polluting not safe for discharging firearms?

In New Mexico, we have a number of animals that require culling (due to the elimination of top level predators) and the way New Mexico Game and Fish solves the problem is by issuing hunting licenses. This seems to work pretty well for us.

Re:Shoot Them? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47027203)

Why not shoot the humans? Give the animals a little room to live?

Re:Shoot Them? (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | about 6 months ago | (#47027229)

Why not shoot the geese? The article didn't say that they were protected, endangered, or otherwise not-shootable. Is the section of Ottaway the geese are polluting not safe for discharging firearms?

In New Mexico, we have a number of animals that require culling (due to the elimination of top level predators) and the way New Mexico Game and Fish solves the problem is by issuing hunting licenses. This seems to work pretty well for us.

Bloody good question, as a resident of the Ottawa area I can testify that there doesn't exactly seem to be a shortage of geese, and in some places they really are a nuisance.

So I did a little digging, sure enough our efficient government have created a Canada Goose FAQ [ec.gc.ca] . And it turns out that the little buggers are protected under the Migratory Birds Convention Act [ec.gc.ca] because their migratory. However:

The Act gives the federal government the responsibility to establish hunting seasons, and Canada Geese are greatly appreciated by migratory game bird hunters across the country. More than 500 000 Canada Geese are taken in Canada each year by hunters.

Migratory Birds Hunting Regulations, 2013–2014: Ontario [ec.gc.ca]

There is an open season on the Canada Goose [ec.gc.ca] from the beginning of September to the middle of December. But with a limit of 5 geese per licenced hunter per day.

So yes, hunting geese is an option, but no, just shooting them in the spring would be illegal.

TL;DR -- It's the nesting season, their migratory and there's international agreements covering the treatment of migratory birds, we can only hunt/shoot them in the fall.

Re:Shoot Them? (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | about 6 months ago | (#47027245)

So... Americans, please come shoot our geese and drink our excellent beer this fall. :)

Re:Shoot Them? (2)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about 6 months ago | (#47030143)

There are a lot of Canadian geese that do not bother migrating all the way back to Canada anymore. I am sick of getting hissed at while I walk along the Allegheny river trail every day.

Saw a goose totally flip the crap out on a police German Shepard last year. Dog was totally cool and ignored the goose the entire time.

Re:Shoot Them? (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 6 months ago | (#47046919)

There are a lot of Canadian geese that do not bother migrating all the way back to Canada anymore. I am sick of getting hissed at while I walk along the Allegheny river trail every day.

Hell, there are Canada geese too lazy to migrate south for the winter.

I remember my youth seeing the noisy V formations as they honked their way south in the fall. These days, nothing. Just geese year-round in Canada.

Bleh.

Admittedly, it's warm enough year-round that they don't really need to migrated. At least this part of Canada is.

Oh, get CBP/DHS on your geese. The ones that go south and return back are known as snowbirds. If they're not going back they're illegal immigrants :).

Re:Shoot Them? (1)

CanadianMacFan (1900244) | about 6 months ago | (#47027509)

The geese are better than all the kids running around. Besides the geese have been using the area for far longer than Ottawa has been around.

Re: Shoot Them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47028605)

Not in such huge masses. Canada goose is an invasive species. They have alo invaded new england, and northern europe. Lack of predatos is the problem.

Re:Shoot Them? (1)

Peter Kowalchuk-Reid (3484611) | about 6 months ago | (#47027243)

Killing them is a nearsighted solution. If you kill some of them,there will be more resources for those that are left, which cause another increase in populqtion puttinyg us right back where we started. And the idea if letting a bunch of shotgun-totting hicks go hunting within blocks of: our parliament, the residence of the prime minister, and many foreign embassy's, seems like a bad idea.

Re:Shoot Them? (1)

C0R1D4N (970153) | about 6 months ago | (#47028443)

It's not even effective and has been tried in the past. The ONLY method that works is management with Border Collies. It's expensive and time consuming but it is by far the most effective method there is.

Re:Shoot Them? (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about 6 months ago | (#47028575)

Killing them is a nearsighted solution. If you kill some of them,there will be more resources for those that are left, which cause another increase in populqtion puttinyg us right back where we started. And the idea if letting a bunch of shotgun-totting hicks go hunting within blocks of: our parliament, the residence of the prime minister, and many foreign embassy's, seems like a bad idea.

It's a perfectly fine solution, since the population has exploded since the massive restriction on hunting them came into place. In my home town we get so many of them now they've actually polluted the local "pond" actually a small dam area maybe 1-2km in size to the point where the geese have killed off all the fish twice including the carp.

And if you think 24 sussex is near parliament you need to go look at a map. Besides where they like to hang out isn't anywhere near parliament, it's where people like to hang out and toss them free food.

Shoot Them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47027253)

Ottawa is Canada's national capital. The Ottawa river runs along the base of Parliament Hill, home to Parliament itself and the seat of the Federal government in Canada. Let me put it this way, in this day and age of terrorism threats, how far up the Potomac River , how close to the Pentagon and other important sites in Washington would you get with a loaded gun before police or some government agency swept down on you?

  "But officer, I was just here to cull all those noisy birds because they keep leaving their droppings all over the place!" I lived in Ottawa once. If you said something like that there, I think the first assumption most police there would make is that your comment was a poor joke about the politicians in Parliament, not talking about real birds.

    The other thing is there is little public support for culling birds in the urban areas of Canada, especially geese, because almost always they are "Canada Geese" we are talking about.

  Put it this way - getting a permit to shoot Canada Geese in Ottawa would almost be the same thing as trying to get a permit to shoot American Bald Eagles in Washington, DC, regardless if they are protected or not. The symbolism alone almost stops you in your tracks.

Re:Shoot Them? (1)

CanadianMacFan (1900244) | about 6 months ago | (#47027503)

It's in the middle of a city. In Canada we prefer not to have firearms discharged within our cities and towns. We're strange that way.

Shoot Them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47029043)

Really? "not safe for discharging firearms?"

Well, if they were not in a city, why chase them away?

They are also protected, both in the US and Canada.

http://www.ec.gc.ca/mbc-com/default.asp?lang=en&n=98A918B1-1#ws988AAEC9

Are Canada Geese protected and can they be hunted?
Yes, Canada Geese are protected under the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994 (MBCA). This Act arose from an international treaty -- the Migratory Birds Convention -- between Canada and the United States, signed in 1916.

Shoot Them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47032323)

The geese are protected in Canada. It is illegal to shoot them.

I guess that's why there are more animals in Canada than the US. I am not sure, but I think the fact there are more lunatics with guns in the US is not related.

Re: Shoot Them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47034177)

Owning a gun does not make one an a lunatic you dickhead

Re: Shoot Them? (1)

i.kazmi (977642) | about 6 months ago | (#47034847)

a person with a temper like yours owning a gun? now that's definitely scary.

Also, with a temper like that, you could probably be classified a lunatic!

heheheh (2)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 6 months ago | (#47026989)

"Modified a drone with some flashing lights and speakers and took to the skies"
Over the speaker, they say "go fly somewhere else, eh? You hosers."

Re:heheheh (1)

Peter Kowalchuk-Reid (3484611) | about 6 months ago | (#47027371)

Take off eh!

Roland Piquepaille (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47027045)

Hugh Pickens is the new Roland Piquepaille

Someone elses problem? (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 6 months ago | (#47027065)

So what happens if this becomes effective enough that eventually the geese never go there again. Where do they go? Typically places that humans populate are not occupied by many predators and there are lots of open places by the water. So in all likelihood, they will find another place to go that humans occupy too.

Re:Someone elses problem? (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 6 months ago | (#47027121)

So what happens if this becomes effective enough that eventually the geese never go there again. Where do they go?

They will migrate south to the United States where Canadian Geese are essentiall a protected species due to all the PETA folks.

Re:Someone elses problem? (2)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 6 months ago | (#47027191)

Overly optomistic. The geese will get used to this thing, and eventually ignore / attack it.

I feel like I heard someone trying this in California with the same result.

Re:Someone elses problem? (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 6 months ago | (#47029011)

So what happens if this becomes effective enough that eventually the geese never go there again. Where do they go?

They will migrate south to the United States where Canadian Geese are essentiall a protected species due to all the PETA folks.

They're called Canada Geese, not Canadian Geese. We had a problem with them in my town at the pond in the public park. After trying several stupid things to get rid of them, they finally killed them all.

One of the stupid things they did was to catch them all and drive them a couple of hundred miles away and release them. Amazingly they were all back in a day or two.

Re:Someone elses problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47029527)

I think you mean the Canada goose - not "Canadian geese" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canada_goose

Next, they are protected because of the "Migratory Birds Convention" signed by Canada and the United States in 1916 not because of PETA.

It's a wild goose chase! (2)

nuckfuts (690967) | about 6 months ago | (#47027143)

(If you had RTFA, you too could have stolen that comment).

Great...droves of constipated geese (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47027187)

Give the geese their peace ... and distribute contraceptives or something.

Re:Great...droves of constipated geese (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 6 months ago | (#47027239)

Give the geese their peace ... and distribute contraceptives or something.

The problem with geese where people like to lay on the ground, is goose shit. They shit a lot.

The problem is not the geese, the solution is not (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47027283)

mini helicopters.

The problem is people. Nature is just behaving normally. The solution is not this gizmo band-aid.

Re:The problem is not the geese, the solution is n (1)

dolmen.fr (583400) | about 6 months ago | (#47044555)

Yes. The goose came here for ever.
The problem seems to be instead the children on the beaches. Let's eradicate those children!

Goosebuster lyrics please! (1)

SeaFox (739806) | about 6 months ago | (#47027415)

I just woke up and am not in a state of mind to do it myself. Someone please write us a song about being terrorized by Canadian geese to go with the theme song.

What about the Geese? (3, Insightful)

KermodeBear (738243) | about 6 months ago | (#47027445)

The Geese need somewhere to live, too. This stinks of homocentrism and speciesist thinking.

I can already see the cartoon (2)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 6 months ago | (#47027483)

One goose says to another goose: "Let's not land here, there's flying wolves in these parts."

Re:I can already see the cartoon (1)

i.kazmi (977642) | about 6 months ago | (#47034873)

would have modded you funny but sadly, i posted a comment and now i can't moderate, please mod parent up

Geese's Feces (1)

517714 (762276) | about 6 months ago | (#47027517)

Two pounds a day per goose (that's almost a kilogram) - it adds up quickly.

How about the opposite? (1)

ddt (14627) | about 6 months ago | (#47027609)

How about leaving the geese alone and removing the humans from the beaches they use when they visit? Humans are there to play in the water. The geese are there to rest, because they've been traveling hundreds or even thousands of miles.

Charles Dickens is to thank for this. Really. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47027681)

Charles Dickens wrote the endearing Christmas stories where a turkey replaced the traditional goose on the family table.

Boston MA drinking water comes primarily from Western Mass., a reservoir called the Quabbin. The water that leaves this reservoir exceeds drinking standard quality as it enters the aqueduct toward Boston. It is beautiful, crystal clear water.

However, that aqueduct comes to the surface in the Wachusett Reservoir, and the quality takes a big hit because of bird shit, primarily from geese and seagulls. There is no hunting permitted in most areas of the watershed, so guess where the birds decide to land? You can walk through the watershed and literally get close enough to touch the geese, they are that unafraid, but you can't shoot them.

We need to start a public service campaign to reverse this error and start shooting and eating these tasty winged polluters.

Iowa has anti-goose drones too (1)

stoploss (2842505) | about 6 months ago | (#47027787)

Cedar Rapids, IA developed their own anti-goose drone [kcrg.com] as well.

Why not "Ride of the Valkyries"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47027835)

Would've added dramatic effect as well...

Clearly this is all a secret ploy... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47027905)

Clearly this is all a secret ploy by the diaper lobby. They scare the shit out of the geese, and all of a sudden people demand we put diapers on them so theys top shitting on said people!

Same story still new a year later (1)

maliqua (1316471) | about 6 months ago | (#47028117)

In the past, the city has tried a number of different methods of ridding their beaches of the geese, but this year, they are going high-tech.

This is what they did last year, these beaches are in the middle of a city so hunting is out of the question so some kid got contracted to scare them off with a quad copter.

and to save everyone time last years commets can be summarized:

"Lets shoot em"
  RE: No its in a city no firearms discharge allowed

"rabble rabble just shoot them"
  RE: no its in a city no firearms discharge allowed

"Can't they just open season on them"
  RE: No still in a city no firearms discharge allowed

Re:Same story still new a year later (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 6 months ago | (#47028479)

Air-pellet guns may do the trick

Re:Same story still new a year later (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47029551)

Potential fines and jail time for killing a protected species also may do the trick?

Re:Same story still new a year later (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47029641)

You see... this is NOT a Goose problem.

This is a Pen problem.

Replace those who wield the Pen, and the Goose problem will go away.

Re:Same story still new a year later (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 6 months ago | (#47030057)

We've been goosed by the politicians.

Old fashioned solution (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 6 months ago | (#47028251)

Just come up with a delicious goose recipe, and their population will dwindle quickly

Re:Old fashioned solution (1)

bagorange (1531625) | about 6 months ago | (#47032415)

I've been told by Canadians that Canada Geese don't taste very nice.

This might work for awhile (1)

localroger (258128) | about 6 months ago | (#47028437)

It will stop working when the geese realize that the drones never eat a goose and can be safely ignored.

Kill and eat them (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#47028563)

They're not really endangered any more. It's a legal fiction.

They're fucking food. (1)

mrmeval (662166) | about 6 months ago | (#47029795)

You kill and eat them. With proper management they're a sustainable resourse. In the US if they were included in game animals the fees and taxes hunters pay on ammunition, firearms, licenses etal could be used to make sure they were a sustainable game animal.

Maybe the candidians could learn that.

We should be proud (1)

LLKrisJ (1021777) | about 6 months ago | (#47030015)

Surely, we have every right to scare away geese that have probably visited those beaches for hundreds of years, if not more. Surely we cannot stay off the beaches when the geese are there, that would be way too hard. Our ability to go to the beach is way more importantWe are mankind, ruler of nature, screw those geese!

Reminds me of those Brits that go live in the flood plain of the Thames only to complain that it's the conservationists fault (protecting some rare species of clam) when their houses and towns flood...

Nature, get off our lawn!

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