British Columbia

Drone acts as goose buster in Nelson

The Nelson public works department is using a variety of tactics — including a drone — to scare geese from Lakeside Park. The adjoining beach was recently closed due to high E.coli levels possibly caused by goose feces.

City uses a drone and a variety of other tactics to prevent geese from fouling up Lakeside Park

Geese are a big problem at Lakeside Park in Nelson, B.C. They cause havoc on the playing field, and their droppings could be the reason the adjoining beach had higher than safe levels of E. coli bacteria. (Arsyl Villaroya/CBC)

The city of Nelson has been using a drone as part of its battle against the pesky Canada goose.

The geese graze on the grass in Lakeside Park, but they've become a nuisance to children who use the playing fields.

The beach adjoining the park was also recently shut down due to high E. coli levels — possibly caused by goose feces.

Colin Innes, the director of public works and utilities with the city of Nelson, says city staff fly the drone close to the ground toward the geese which chases them off.

"When you use the drone, you'll chase them off, and they'll disappear for the majority of the day."

This is the second year the city has used a drone.

A variety of goose-busting techniques

The drone isn't used alone. Workers also use bangers and screamers — a small gun that can make a variety of different noises. They also use a turf sweeper that can sweep up goose droppings and chase geese away.

Municipalities across Canada have employed tactics against the mischief-making birds — from egg sterilization to green lasers.

So far, Innes says the drone has been effective, and the geese haven't attempted to attack the drone — something that has happened elsewhere and been well documented online.

This is a still from drone footage of a goose attacking a drone — the subject of many viral videos. (Dynamic Filmz/YouTube)

Cheap and effective, for now

Innes says the drone is cost-effective, especially compared to other solutions like applying a chemical deterrent on the grass. 

"The price of buying some of the chemical deterrents can be in excess of the price of a drone, and you'd have to apply [the chemicals] a number of times and purchase them again."

But Innes says the drone should not be overused.

"If we were to just rely on that, I think they would become habituated."

With files from Daybreak South

To hear the interview, click on the link labelled Goosebusters! Nelson uses drones to scare away problem geese