Students and faculty at Quinnipiac have become accustomed to the sight of hundreds of Canada geese crowding the grass around campus. The geese leave behind quite a mess, which can be frustrating for students who want to lie down and relax on the quad or enjoy a game of Frisbee.
According to Joseph Rubertone, associate vice president for facilities administration, a company has been hired to discourage the Canada geese population from landing on campus. After meeting with a variety of companies, Quinnipiac has signed a six-month contract with “Up, Up & Away,” a husband-wife duo that are licensed by the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection as “Connecticut Nuisance Wildlife Control Operators.”
Rubertone said the system implemented by this company is to “use border collies to basically harass the geese into the idea that this is not a place that they want to land – that they want to go someplace else.”
According to Rubertone, the areas that are most affected by the geese are the area on the grass in front of Echlin, the water retention basin at Echlin and the Law School, the pond behind Irmagarde Tator and Dana, and the baseball field. At some times during the winter months Rubertone estimates that around 200 to 300 geese can be found on the baseball field.
The decision to use the border collies to relocate the geese came after many of the university’s previous attempts failed to have an impact.
“We’ve tried everything over the years,” Rubertone said. “We had the fake alligator in the pond, we had the fake coyotes that would move in the wind, we had the distress goose call – nothing worked. We would get them out of the Law School pond and they would just move to the pond behind Irma. So with two bodies of water it makes it even more difficult.”
By using the border collies, the geese will be followed as they switch from one pond to the other, since the dogs will go into the water after them. Another reason that border collies are effective is because they resemble wolves which are natural predators of geese.
According to Rubertone, the Canada geese population has been a problem at Quinnipiac for many years. The population continues to grow as the number of nesting pairs increases.
“Geese that are born on the campus will stay on the campus and mate for several years, increasing the number of nesting pairs that live on the campus, meaning the population is getting bigger,” Rubertone said.
The decision of where the geese will be relocated is “up to them,” Rubertone said. There are many surrounding areas near water that the geese may end up going, such as Clarke’s Pond, but Rubertone said that the main goal is just to get them off campus.
Students had mixed reactions on the plans to relocate the geese. Tatianna Sosa, a freshman broadcast journalism major said she feels bad that the geese will be chased off campus.
“They weren’t harming anyone,” Sosa said.
Freshman psychology major Julena Freder said that while she wasn’t personally bothered by the geese or the mess they left, she understood why the school was trying to relocate them.
“I think the reason that the school’s doing it is because they were messing up the grass and the school pays so much money for the grass,” Freder said.
On the other hand, freshman history major Jeremy Stull finds that the geese are annoying.
“You want to sit on the quad for homework or just to play Frisbee or something and there’s geese droppings all over the place, it’s kind of annoying,” Stull said.
Freshman physician assistant major Jennifer Boyd says that she thinks the plan to use the border collies is definitely a good one.
“I hate geese, I’m terrified of them,” she said.
The border collies will be called upon whenever there are large gatherings of geese anywhere on campus, whether it is day or night.
“They’ll try to mix it up so they don’t get into a habit,” Rubertone said. “The geese are smart enough to know if they’re getting harassed at 1 o’clock every day, they’ll just stay away at 1 o’clock.”
Rubertone was certain that the border collies, which will run free around campus, wouldn’t be a risk to any students.
“If you met these two border collies you would see that they are just like family pets,” he said.
The Canada geese will also be safe from harm.
“All they try to do is herd them in the right direction, so they’re not going to be attacked in any way,” Rubertone said.
He added: “The problem is just such a mess, the entire community is inconvenienced by it. The downside is having to move them and going through the expense of moving them. After everything we’ve tried the border collies probably are the last resort.”