Seagulls: Be thankful Northfield only has a Canada Geese problem

Gulls on the Dockside Fish Market, Grand Marais, MN 576px-Birdsniper
After spending a few days in Grand Marais, I’m not sure I’d trade the nuisance of Canada geese for the nuisance of gulls.  Gulls are considerably more noisy, even at 6 am when I took the photo on the left.

And although I’ve not seen in happen here, they’ve been known to steal food right out of your hands (Wikipedia photo).

Unlike Grand Marais, Northfield solves part of its geese poop problem without an ordinance

I’m in Grand Marais this week and noticed this sign along the waterfront park:

"Do not feed the geese" sign in Grand Marais, MNDO NOT FEED THE GEESE
Feeding of geese is prohibited
City ordinance number 167
Petty misdemeanor

In August of 2011, the City (TJ!) put up "Do not feed the wildlife" signs along the Sesqui Plaza (blog post here).  A month later, I commented that the signs appeared to be making a difference, and now, one year later, it’s still the case.   Cool. (See all the Canada geese-related blog posts here on LoGro, going back to 2009.)

What else needs to be done to further control the geese problem, especially in Riverside and Babcock parks?

No feeding of wildlife. However…

'No feeding of wildlife' sign on Cannon River in Northfield 'No feeding of wildlife' sign on Cannon River in Northfield
Mary Closner alerted me to the new signs on the signs along the Sesqui Plaza.

The City of Northfield’s ‘No feeding of wildlife’ signs appear to have made a huge difference in preventing the Canada geese from defecating all over the Plaza.  (I was going to say ‘shitting’ but decided I’ve been too fowl-mouthed lately. Take that, John George!)

The discussion about the geese continues here.

What’s your reaction to the four new ‘Don’t Feed the Wildlife’ signs on the Sesqui Plaza?

'Don't Feed the Wildlife' signs on the Sesqui Plaza DSC07918
A month ago, I attended a Parks and Rec board meeting when the issue of geese droppings was discussed. I wrote:

There was also discussion about the pros and cons of an ordinance that would prohibit the feeding of ducks and geese, as that’s seen as a contributing factor to the problem on the Sesqui Plaza. In the meantime, the City will place some “Don’t feed the wildlife” signs there.

The signs are now up. Four of them. Some people aren’t happy. Nfld News’ Suzy Rook published an online column yesterday on the issue: Please don’t feed the animals:

Suzy RookA few people, I’ve heard, aren’t happy with the signs the city posted along the Cannon River asking downtown visitors not to feed the wildlife. But there are good reasons for the request, said city Streets and Parks Supervisor T.J. Heinricy…

While the signs, he said, are getting the point across, he’s gotten complaints from those who want to bring their children to the river to feed the ducks and geese. And while Heinricy understands how much fun it can be for a kids to interact with wildlife, he’s asking that we all do our part to keep Northfield tidy and safe: Don’t feed the animals. We’ll all be better off for it.

Two years later and the geese are still handing the City of Northfield its ass

Exactly one year ago yesterday, I blogged about the lack of progress in the City’s effort to control the problem of Canada geese shitting in Ames Park, Riverside Park, Babcock Park, and Sesquicentennial Plaza.  I suggested a solution (Border Collies), other suggestions emerged in the discussion thread, and the Northfield News drew attention to the problem with an article, editorial, and letters to the editor.

Canada geese in Riverside Park near Village on the Cannon Canada geese in Riverside Park near Village on the Cannon Canada geese in Riverside Park near Village on the Cannon
But as you can see from these photos of Riverside Park this week, the problem is worse than ever. Are condo owners at Village on the Cannon pissed? Not only are the geese spoiling their ‘front yard’ and adjacent walking trails, they are likely hurting the sales of condos. Ironically, on their association’s home page, they feature a photo of the geese on the Cannon River. Oy.

Geese shit in Ames Park Canada geese in Babcock Park Geese shit on Sesquicentennial Plaza Geese shit on Sesquicentennial Plaza Geese shit on Sesquicentennial Plaza
It’s just as bad in Ames Park and in and around the Peggy Prowe Pedestrian Bridge in Babcock Park. It’s especially bad on Sesquicentennial Legacy Plaza. I wonder if Ray ‘Jake’ Jacobson knows what the geese are doing to the granite pavers surrounding his ‘Harvest’ sculpture?

I waved Northfield Park and Recreation Advisory Board (PRAB) chair Nathan Knutson over to my corner office at GBM yesterday and told him I had just taken photos of the problem. He said the issue came up at the PRAB retreat recently and that they were considering what to do.  I don’t see anything about it their recent minutes and agendas but I hope this blog post will help focus attention on the problem.

Who’s ready for some goose egg omelettes?

goose egg nest at 3rd St. and Hwy 3 goose egg nest at 3rd St. and Hwy 3
The guy who picks up litter every day around town (he wishes to remain anonymous) pointed out this nest of eggs to me last night. The nest is in the streetscape bushes at 3rd St. and Hwy 3, across from the Quarterback. I assumed they’re Canada goose eggs from looking at the photos on Google images.

If not omelettes, then might your dog be hungry for a snack?

Podcast: Triumvirate minus 1 on goose poop, the elections, and a departure opportunity

lgbannertriumvirateposter-minus-tracyIt was just me and Ross this week, talking about all-things Northfield including goose poop, the upcoming council and school board elections (separate issues), and the opportunities afforded by the departure of Northfield City Administrator Joel Walinski.

It’s clear from listening to the show, however, that we need Tracy.

She’s–not–just a pretty face
She’s–got–everything it takes
She’s–mother–of the human race
She’s–not–just a pretty face

Click play to listen. 30 minutes.

You can also download the MP3 or subscribe to the podcast feed, or subscribe directly with iTunes. Our radio show/podcast, Locally Grown, usually airs Mondays at 6:00 PM and Sundays at 10 AM on KYMN 1080 AM.

Let’s use a Border Collie to solve the geese problem now

shoreline, Ames ParkI optimistically blogged about the Canada geese (AKA ‘sky carp’ or ‘flying rats’) in Ames Park last December: The sky carp problem in Ames Park: the City’s tactics appear to be working.

And then in April, I took this photo of workers removing the fencing along the west side of the Cannon River in Ames Park. I sent this email to City Engineer Katy Gehler-Hess:

Hi Katy, I see the fencing along the Cannon River downtown was removed this morning. The plantings didn’t grow? What’s plan B??

I never got a reply but she evidently forwarded my email to Street/Park Supervisor T.J. Heinricy who wrote:

The fence in Ames park was removed per the recommendation of Bonestroo Inc.  They were the contractor hired to do the install.  I asked them this Spring about the fence removal.  The gentleman that did the install did a very detailed inspection.  The planting’s are doing just fine and are thriving.  That was their assessment.

Alas, the problem is now worse than ever.

geese in Ames Park shoreline, Ames Park shoreline, Ames Park shoreline, Ames Park
I took these photos last night.  The geese use the canoe ramps and the bank next to the Ames Mill fence that’s not city property to enter and exit the river. And the plantings are NOT thriving everywhere as Bonestroo contended. There are many spots that look like this:

shoreline, Ames Park

Nfld News:

City Administrator Joel Walinski said it will take time to see the full effect of the new shoreline, which looks much better than it did two years ago, he said.

I’m extremely doubtful that the current solution will work in two years.  The Nfld News editorial mentioned using dogs, specifically Border Collies. Lots of businesses doing this (example, here) and even the Coalition to Prevent the Destruction of Canada Geese recommends using Border Collies:

Border Collies (BC) are specially trained herding dogs that are extremely effective for keeping geese out of areas where they are considered a problem.  Border collies are the method of choice for large open areas such as golf courses, airports, parks, school ground recreation fields, corporate parks, etc.

Results are immediate. Usually requires aggressive initial use (several times a day for 1-2 weeks) until geese get tired of being hassled and stay away. While the wolf-like gaze of Border Collies is incredibly frightening to geese, these dogs will not harm them or children.

Tearing down the Ames Mill dam might solve the problem but that project appears to be stalled.

So why not get/rent a Border Collie and solve the problem NOW, before DJJD?  Couldn’t the Park & Recreation Advisory Board (PRAB) could take the lead on this initiative?

Update 7/16 8:30 am:  Geese feces on the Mill Towns Trail between Riverside Park and Babcock Park:

Geese feces on the Mill Towns Trail Geese feces on the Mill Towns Trail Geese feces on the Mill Towns Trail

Update 7/18 7:15 am: Geese feces on the Sesquincentennial Plaza:

Geese feces on the Sesquincentennial Plaza Geese feces on the Sesquincentennial Plaza Geese feces on the Sesquincentennial Plaza

The sky carp problem in Ames Park: the City’s tactics appear to be working

Geese south of 5th St. bridge Geese north of 5th St. bridge Pedestrian trail in Ames Park, free of goose poop
All year, there’s seemed to be considerably fewer Canada geese (AKA ‘sky carp’ or ‘flying rats’) in Ames Park than in previous years. Last week was no exception. The big flocks were landing south of the 5th St. bridge. Note the lack of goose poop on the walking trail in Ames Park.

Continue reading The sky carp problem in Ames Park: the City’s tactics appear to be working

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