UGA turf research centers uses balloons to scare geese

The University of Georgia’s new Athens Turfgrass Research and Education Center has some colorful balloons floating above their little pond and some folks are wondering why? It seems the balloons are there for no other reason than to scare off the geese that used to frequent the pond.

Turfgrass researchers relied on water from the pond to irrigate the research plots of turfgrass at the site. But when they began using the pond for irrigation, they found the water was heavily contaminated with geese droppings. The nutrients in the droppings allowed algae to flourish, and that made it tough to monitor experiments such as what’s the ideal nutrient balance for new varieties of turfgrass that are being researched at the facility.

Like most birds, geese rely more on vision than on their other senses to avoid danger, and so visual stimuli can be effective. Commercially available eyespot balloons are large, helium-filled balloons with large, eye-like images.

It seems that large colored spots on three sides of any helium balloon can suggest eyes to geese.

We’re not sure how anyone could reach that conclusion unless they had a one-on-one conversation with one of the geese, but it seems to work.

The balloons are periodically relocated to confuse the geese. This environmentally friendly and harmless effort seems to have scared off the geese, and at a cost of around $15 per balloon, with a tether and helium it appears to have been a very cost effective solution.-from Jim Novak and TPI News