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August  23

Is It A Pond or A Shooting Gallery?

File000_1Snapped by John Zingali, the incredibly lifelike stuffed coyote on floating patrol in Edgemont Park. Readers have also written in to aprise us of the several two dimensional, snarling dog cut-outs positioned all around the pond to keep the geese away. How long before the geese catch on?

August 23, 2005 in Only in Montclair | Permalink


I lived In Idaho for a while, where coyotes were fairly common, and going by the photo that looks more like simoly a white dog.

Also, if the Canada geese, who've probably never seen a real coyote in their lives, are supposed to be smart enough to suddenly recognize the species, wouldn't they also be smart enough to notice that this particular critter is stuck out there in the middle of the lake and poses them no threat?

And why, granted that it's a coyote, is it a white one? No grey or black examples of the species were available for stuffing? That one worries me.

Posted by: cathar | Aug 23, 2005 3:19:37 PM

I thought he looked like a dog, too (but we've been getting lots of coyote mail). The weird thing is he's not actually stuck out there in the middle of the lake -- he moves around, floating on that piece of wood like a raft...

Posted by: Liz | Aug 23, 2005 3:36:54 PM

To the left of the dog/coyote you can see another aversion technique -- dead goose decoys. They're pretty creepy and very realistic. They look like drowned geese with broken necks. (A passer-by might think the iris vandals have escalated to violence.)

Posted by: htb | Aug 23, 2005 3:52:45 PM

Geese may just have a natural fear reaction to the generic dog/wolf shape (long snout, big teeth, fluffy tail).

There was just a story in the news a few weeks ago about an ostrich farmer whose ostriches freaked out when a hot air balloon landed in their ranch. The birds knocked huge down metal fences and did lots of harm to themselves trying to flee. The farmer had to close his ranch and tried to sue the balloonist to no avail.

Apparently ostriches perceive large objects coming at them from above as predators.

Posted by: State Street Pete | Aug 23, 2005 4:03:16 PM

That "dog" looks so cute that I would be tempted to swim out to it! Thanks for letting me know it's a ruse.

Posted by: Miss Martta | Aug 23, 2005 4:13:14 PM

omg-funny i thought one day i saw that and assumed someone's dog swam out--how funny-now that is an enjoyable work of art-hope it works on the geese-and doesn't cause a collision as someone double takes while driving on the curve there.

Posted by: cstarling | Aug 23, 2005 4:34:20 PM

To keep the geese off of our cousins waterfront property they placed a 2 foot chicken wire fence at the edge of the water. Apparently, the migrating geese prefer to land in the water and then jump out onto the shore to eat. When they couldn't jump the fence they stopped feasting on their lawn and moved to another property.

Posted by: stay at home | Aug 23, 2005 4:54:10 PM

To keep the geese off of our cousins waterfront property they placed a 2 foot chicken wire fence at the edge of the water. Apparently, the migrating geese prefer to land in the water and then jump out onto the shore to eat. When they couldn't jump the fence they stopped feasting on their lawn and moved to another property.

Posted by: stay at home | Aug 23, 2005 4:55:12 PM


Posted by: stay at home | Aug 23, 2005 4:59:40 PM

The only thing that finally worked at our summer lake community was destroying the eggs in the goose nests.

Posted by: jessica | Aug 23, 2005 5:35:56 PM

The COYOTES are only half the story....

those posts that are in front of the monmument have loudspeakers and a laser device that circulates the entire pond. When the lines are crossed, they make a loud duck quacking noise that would scare anything off.

It was funny to see it set up, because all of the geese were on the baseball diamond nearest to the pond, watching the workers install the apparatus.

Posted by: MyManMisterC | Aug 23, 2005 5:45:21 PM

Okay, all this money spent on the devices above, all these devices, one question: has it worked?

The main device also reminds me of Romain Gary's notorious book about race relations in the 60's, "White Dog," which was then turned into a movie starring his tragic spouse, Jean Seberg. (It's about a white dog trained by a black guy to only gnaw on white folks.....)Which again should bring Franklin into the equation, since for some weird reason a while back people posting here granted "him" expertise on the topic by virtue of his posting name.

Posted by: cathar | Aug 23, 2005 6:03:34 PM

I just drove by and saw a goose sitting on the wolf's head.

Posted by: Johnny Drama | Aug 23, 2005 8:53:00 PM

Saw it while riding past on my bike last Saturday. At first glance, I saw this petrified looking dog on a board, standing motionless, like one of the bronze figures of the war memorial nearby. Then noticed the decoy of dead geese all around the pond. I thought to myself how all of this detracts from the beauty of the pond that I once remembered and loved to visit. The geese didn't seem to bother me too much, in retrospect. It seemed also to represent the process of a violent attack, the subsequent death and what remained of these creatures. Something that I'd rather not be subjected to, while visiting a park. There is no appeal anymore, to return and stare at these things in the water! IMHO.

Posted by: JTF | Aug 23, 2005 9:02:38 PM

Cathar: Are you familiar with William Melvin Kelley's classic, "Dem?"

Posted by: Miss Martta | Aug 23, 2005 9:24:58 PM

What are we paying these guys to get rid of the geese? I thought someone said $8K or so.

Seems to me we now have more geese.

Maybe we can put in a mosaic of a wolf?


Posted by: carya | Aug 23, 2005 11:15:13 PM

At best you can frustrate them enough that they will leave one pond and go to the nearest body of water that is not rigged up against them, but nothing except wholesale slaughter will keep them away if people continue to feed them.

Signed, Pavlov.

Posted by: conan the grammarian | Aug 24, 2005 7:47:18 AM

Miss Martta, while the name William Melvin Kelley rang the right general bell, I did indeed (as you've said you've done once a twice re my references) have to Google him for specifics, specifically for "dem." No, I've never read anything by him.

So you'll have to explain the book's relevance. And good morning!

Posted by: cathar | Aug 24, 2005 8:03:47 AM

I almost hit the car in front of me looking at all of the paraphernalia (especially the dead geese, which seem particularly macabre) put up to protect the pond and keep it beautiful. I'm a city girl so I am always startled when I see wildlife (real or otherwise) when I drive. Once I was in Verona and thought I was looking at fiber glass dear…then it moved! It scared the bejeezus out of me.

I understand wanting to control a pesky problem, but the pond looks terrible now.

Posted by: fyi | Aug 24, 2005 8:45:39 AM

Good morning to you as well. Here is a synopsis of "dem," which I read about 20 years and has since been reissued (in 2001):

Author: William Melvin Kelley

Originally published in 1967, dem is a classic of the Black Arts Movement. This surrealistic satire lays bare the convoluted and symbiotic relationship between whites and blacks. Upper middle-class Manhattanite Mitchell Pierce is convinced he has it made. With advancement at work, an attractive wife, and a comfortable apartment, he has achieved the 1960s version of the white man's American dream. Slowly but surely that dream becomes a nightmare, and Mitchell can't seem to wake up. Did he really find his boss's wife and children dead in an upstairs bedroom of their suburban home? Did his wife really become pregnant after a brief fling with their black maid's boyfriend?

Mitchell and his wife enact the twists and turns of human relationships in this startling novel about the intersections of race, class, sex, love, and marriage. Notable as a satiric portrayal of white characters from an African American perspective, this milestone achievement tugs at our ability to suspend disbelief and forces us to re-examine stereotypes from the past and current images in America's racial divide.

Posted by: Miss Martta | Aug 24, 2005 8:56:59 AM

Now back to our regularly scheduled blogdom.

Posted by: Miss Martta | Aug 24, 2005 8:58:17 AM

Miss Martta, I read the same Google reference to "dem" as you did. But I honestly don't think Franklin's at all in that vein, if that's what you're getting at, he comes off as more self-contained than, ah, "astute," if you follow.

And the real "coyote" (I drove by yesterday) still doesn't look much like any coyotes I've ever seen before. Amazing, the whole apparatus at the park seems an awfully involved and costly means of goose control. And it seems to better scare people than geese. Almost makes me wonder instead about the efficacy of all those Christmas dinners of roast goose conjured up by Charles Dickens.

Posted by: cathar | Aug 24, 2005 9:38:28 AM

"And it seems to better scare people than geese."

LOL, true! If I was walking through the park and saw some large animal, dead or alive, tethered to a raft, I would freak.

Posted by: Miss Martta | Aug 24, 2005 9:57:06 AM

If you scare the people away then the geese can enjoy the pond undisturbed. A friend of my has a site that many of you city dwellers may enjoy

Posted by: Irony | Aug 24, 2005 10:16:14 AM

Oh great! Now the geese will migrate to Bloomfield Middle School and join that population (is it soccer season yet?) where the town was supposed to deploy real canines. Goose poop, in large quantities, is pretty disgusting!

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