DENVER -- It’s not a bird. It’s not a plane. It’s a Goosinator.
The Goosinator is a local invention from a company in Lakewood. It is bright orange with teeth and eyes painted on. The device has a propeller and a rudder that allows it to skim across water, grass, ice and snow to scare away geese.
Denver Parks and Recreation employs seven of the remote-controlled goose-hazing devices across its parks system to keep Denver’s Canada goose population in check.
“The biggest complaint we get from Denver parks users is the goose poop,” Denver Parks’ wildlife program administrator Vicki Vargas-Madrid said.
About 20,000 Canada geese live in Denver parks year-round. During the winter when they migrate, that number doubles.
“They want to live here year-round so when we haze them, it creates the idea of a predator and they continue to migrate. That’s their natural instinct,” Denver Parks staff member Scott Bartell said.
Wildlife staff use the devices about three times a week in all of Denver’s parks that have water features.
“It’s really used with a technique that would be similar to a predator like a coyote or a fox,” Vargas-Madrid said.
Denver has been using the Goosinator for about five years.
“We have used this so often that you only have to pull it out of the truck and the geese see it and they’re off flying,” Vargas-Madrid said.
As well as it works, hazing is not a permanent fix to overpopulation.
“Yes, they do return. This is their home,” Vargas-Madrid said.
A hazed flock might return to the same spot in as little as an hour or by the next day.
“We’ve created this for them, so they’re not going to stay away completely,” she said.
However, hazing at least provides some temporary relief for park visitors.