Some people living in Morrisburg, Ont., say they're fed up with the thousands of Canada geese that invade their lawns, parks, golf courses and beaches every spring.
Bob Bechard has been living in Morrisburg for five years.
"The geese at night, there's thousands of them. They get in along the bays and they get their resting spot for the night, and it seems like they have a party. They make all kinds of noise and let everybody know that they're back in town," Bechard said.
"Every night, every night … it's a party every night."
Doug Coons, another resident, agrees.
"They come in here in very large flocks. They're more here in the evening and in the mornings, and through the day they'll go back into the fields and feed," Coons said.
'A cacophony of sound'
"In the evening and in the morning it's just a cacophony of sound. You can hear it in the house, the noise of the geese, and this will go on for about two weeks until they move on farther north."
Bill Laurin lives along the shoreline, the birds' favourite place. He said the geese pick his lawn clean every year, but he has other concerns.
"It's not good," Laurin said. "I can't bring my grandchildren here to play on my property because they're too dirty. I don't know if everybody's aware, but a goose can process its own weight in excrement every day.
"I think they're beautiful birds, I think there's way too many of them. There's just way too many. They cover the entire bay. Every year we pay taxes to keep a beach open here, every year it's closed because of pollution."
Geese prefer short grass to long grass, so they're attracted to the manicured lawns close to the water.
The Upper Canada Migratory Bird Sanctuary, not far from Morrisburg in Ingleside, is trying to lure geese to its 4,000 hectares of protected land.
Permits allow for scaring geese with noise, dogs
Lou Seiler is manager of parks and recreational facilities for the St. Lawrence Parks Commission. He said the sanctuary is also trying to push the geese out of public areas.
"It's kind of a push-pull situation," Seiler said.
The organization applies for permits each year to scare the geese off beaches, golf courses, public parks and more with cap gun noises or with dogs, and it also puts up lines a few inches above the ground to prevent the geese from nesting.
"They're very smart, though," Seiler said. Noises and dogs, for example, have to be used at random times. If there's any kind of pattern, the geese will just come back.
In the fall, the sanctuary uses corn to try to attract the geese to the sanctuary and away from public places.
Seiler said people with property being affected by geese do have options. They can put up lines and chicken wire, they can plant tall grasses near their shorelines, and they can stop manicuring their lawns as much.
The organization also has a permit to paint some goose eggs with vegetable oil in about three to four weeks, which prevents the eggs from hatching.