This headline, “Canada Geese Leave Johnson Point”, could be a future news headline this year if the planned Lake Auman Sports Club’s (LASC) community service project is successful.
For the past several years, Johnson Point has been experiencing an increased nuisance from the presence of both resident and migratory Canada geese. Accumulations of goose droppings have become excessive on our beach, swim float, marina piers and throughout Johnson Point. Public health concerns for our beach and our lake water coupled with the growing number of residents in Seven Lakes West using the Johnson Point amenities requires action be taken to minimize and/or eliminate the issues associated with these geese.
The issues with Canada geese here are not any different than throughout most of North America. Canada geese are federally protected and most states, including North Carolina, have limitations on what actions can be taken toward them. Several methods, with varying degrees of success, have been used to control the presence of geese including habitat modification, exclusion (keeping geese from entering by using barriers, fencing or scaring devices), harassment (dogs trained to chase but not harm geese, lasers and pyrotechnics), chemical repellents (chemical spray to repel the geese from an area) and lethal control. The Lake Auman Sports Club will use two of these methods to effectively reduce goose damage and related issues.
Geese prefer to land on water and walk up onto adjacent beach and grassy areas to feed and rest. The most effective tools for controlling these geese movements are fences, hedge rows, bird scare tape and other physical barriers. Bird scare tape is a thin, shiny ribbon of Mylar about one inch wide. It is silver on one side and colored, usually red, on the other. The tape reflects sunlight to produce a flashing effect. When a breeze causes the tape to stretch, it pulsates and produces a loud, humming noise. The tape provides a barrier while the flashing and rattling frightens and repels the geese discouraging them from walking up onto the beach or grass.
On February 1, 2018, Sports Club volunteers Dan Lambert, Paul Muenzner, Charlie Finchum, Steve Haniotis, Stan Makson, Jan Pollnow, Ed Cockman and Don Smith constructed a Mylar tape barrier using wooden stakes (see illustration below) along the beach and around the entire bulkhead at Johnson Point. Additionally, a barrier was erected at the ends of the marina piers A and B and around the outer edge of the floating swim raft to discourage geese from hopping onto these structures. The Mylar tape barriers will be maintained (repaired as necessary) by the Sports Club until the beginning of the swimming season, estimated to be early May, and then removed. At the request of the Community Manger, the barriers will be removed by the Sports Club earlier if needed.
One of the most popular and successful methods to disperse geese is with trained dogs that chase but do not harm the geese. This includes chasing the geese both on land and in the water. It is permissible to harass Canada geese without a Federal or State permit, as long as these geese are not touched or handled by a person or the agent of a person (e.g. a trained dog). By continuously harassing the geese, they become discouraged and find other places to live.
The Lake Auman Sports Club has hired Top Flight Goose Control, a Southern Pines company specializing in geese management and control to do this. The owner, Chad Bean, is a North American Goose Dog Association Certified Handler and he and his Border Collie dog (Border Collies are recognized worldwide as the best herding dogs) completed the Association’s certification training.
Their program is designed to completely mitigate our Johnson Point goose problems. It will start approximately mid-March when migratory geese start to arrive and continue throughout the summer months as needed. A heavy push is planned for the first month with a number of visits each day seven days per week. Depending on bird activity, daily visits will continue as necessary with a follow up maintenance program in place throughout the summer months. The initial strong presence is to assure we push the birds to prevent nesting and geese on site during molt and thus ensure we do not have geese through the summer.
It is important to note that neither of these methods will result in harm to the geese. The overall success of this project can be further ensured with the cooperation of Seven Lakes West community members by not interfering with these approaches and by not feeding the geese at Johnson Point.