(SIOUX CITY, IA) - A water treatment plant in Sioux City is relying on coyotes to keep geese away. They're not real and no, they don't howl, but they're scary enough.The fake coyotes are on the job because of the airport. Sioux Gateway is so close to the pond at the water treatment plant, geese were getting in the way of airplanes. So the airport got in touch with the water plant to see what it could do to get rid of the geese problem. The best solution - fake coyotes and "Angry Birds".
The pond sits behind the Southbridge water treatment plant. "We neutralize the water and then we send it into this holding pond back here where we bring a percentage of that back to the front end of the plant as untreated water," said Sioux City Water Plant Supervisor Rick Mach. The geese aren't a problem for the water supply, but they're a danger to planes. When the airport called up Rick Mach, he and his team researched how to scare away the geese. The fake coyotes looked like the best bet. "So far they've been helping quite a bit in keeping the number of geese that land on this pond down," said Mach.
"We knew that there were these automatic cannons if you were to scare birds away. So going on the web we looked at alternatives for it and this seemed liked the least maintenance intense," he said. Coyotes aren't the only ones keeping those geese away. There are two balloons called "Angry Birds". They are also designed to ward off geese. "To me, the balloons painted like an Angry Bird like an owl were more hilarious to look at than the coyotes. Although having got the coyote when it came in the shipping boxes kind of funny unpacking them," said Mach with a smile. They're fairly cheap: the coyotes cost $63 each and $45 for the Angry Birds. They've been at the pond for a month and a half, but they don't sit still all the time. "If you leave them for too long in one spot, the geese get used to that. It doesn't bother them, but by moving around a little bit and getting it more out in the open it might get their tails moving a little bit in the wind and be helpful to us," said Mach. It's an inexpensive way to keep the geese away and planes safe.
Mach says they'll keep checking to see how effective the coyotes and "Angry Birds" are over the next few months. If the geese come back, they'll look at other options.