The City of Moncton is turning to an unusual tactic to try to deal with the city's ever-growing goose population and the messy, potentially dangerous droppings they leave behind.
The Goosinator looks like a mechanical toy, but parks and grounds supervisor Dan Hicks is hoping the remote-controlled device will chase the gaggles of Canada Geese that flock to trails and fields away, to less populated areas.
"If you look at the actual unit, it's bright colours, it’s got big teeth, it looks pretty menacing," he said.
"You don't just drive headlong into the flock, you circle around them a little bit and act like a natural predator."
The Goosinator costs about $3,500, but Hicks contends it would be money well spent. For years, the City has spent a lot of time and effort repairing fields and trails using mechanical sweepers and taking up staff time, he said.
"It is actually less expensive to operate one of these because that thing is so much fun, I can train volunteers and gladly have people come out and want to try this, especially if you're a sports enthusiast and you're going to use the field.
"There's a number of people that have already said, 'Ya, if that works, I'd sign up.'"
Hicks says the City will test the Goosinator for one more week, then decide whether to buy one, or look for another solution.
The geese themselves aren't the only problem, it's their droppings, which pose a potential health risk, he said.
"E. coli is one of the things that comes out of the droppings," said Hicks.
"And you know when you're dealing with playability in sports fields and you're in close contact with the ground, it's not something you want to have frequent dealings with."
Citizen Kathy McCabe says she deals with the problem frequently.
"The droppings are all over the trail and the grass so you kind of have to kind of walk around to not to step in it," she said.
The University of Moncton has also struggled with pesky geese over the years and tested out different devices, said Charles Mallais, the director of maintenance and repair services.
He tried kites that look like hawks before, he said.
"At first, when we started using the kites, I think it was doing the job," said Mallais. "But at the end, they were more curious about the kites more than anything else, I think, because they were hanging around."
The Goosinator is a "proven method that effectively gets geese off of your property quickly and efficiently," according to the company's website.
It is also humane, and works on the grass, water, snow and ice, it states.
The patent is still pending.