The Tonawanda, N.Y., facility has a contract with Craig Cygan, a retired secret service agent who started Borders on Patrol, utilizing his three dogs across Western New York to rid open spaces of geese, seagulls, and deer. Cygan visits the golf course twice a day and will continue to do so until geese-nesting season ends in May.
About 200 to 300 geese are estimated to have set up homes on the 27-hole Deerwood Golf Course in Tonawanda, N.Y., causing hold-ups and a general mess for maintenance employees charged with picking up droppings on fairways and around the animals’ nests, the Niagara Falls-based Niagara Gazette reported.
Keith Miranto, Deerwood director, said they tried cut-out coyotes and an employees’ family dog to chase the geese away. Nothing worked. Miranto reached out to a supervisor at Sheridan Golf Course in Tonawanda, where three border collies were purchased by the town more than a decade ago to scare away the feathered fowl, the Gazette reported.
“He said, ‘that was 10 years ago and we don’t have as much as a goose feather on my golf course,’” Miranto recalled. “Doing nothing was not an option.”
Miranto found Craig Cygan, a retired Secret Service agent who returned to his Western New York roots from Washington, D.C. In 2007, on a whim, he started Borders on Patrol out of the Town of Boston, utilizing his three dogs across Western New York, to rid largely open spaces of geese, seagulls and sometimes deer, the Gazette reported.
Cygan has now visited Deerwood twice a day for the last several weeks and will continue to do so until the geese-nesting season ends in May, the Gazette reported.
Cygan said he’s heard the grievances from golf course supervisors, college administrators and corporate property managers, who have tried coating goose eggs in oil, installing laser lights and other tactics in attempts to discourage nesting and send the birds packing. And while those techniques work for a while, if at all, Cygan said border collies’ natural instinct to corral the geese causes them to move on to greener pastures, the Gazette reported.
“I’ve seen everything,” Cygan said. “The problem is the geese get used to these methods and eventually return. If they realize they’re being stalked they get scared and move on.
“Once they learn a task they never forget it,” he said, adding that his year-round job covers 20 different contracts mostly in Erie County.
Miranto is hopeful the new venture will dissuade the geese from nesting on the course, which draws about $1 million in revenue each year along with 59,000 rounds of golf. City officials are pushing to open the course by early April, the Gazette reported.
“We’re in competition with a lot of other golf courses,” Miranto said. “And we’re trying to encourage people to play their golf here.”