Dogs patrolling areas with heavy geese populations to curb the birds’ presence

AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) — Dozens of geese can be found around the University at Buffalo’s campus.

“It’s their nesting season they’ve become very aggressive,” said Garrett Cygan, a Wildlife Management Specialist.

Cygan is one of the team members working to keep the population rates low. Bogey, a nine-year-old border collie, is another.

“He loves working,” said Cygan, Bogey’s owner.

The pair travels around Western New York together, going to places with geese population problems.

“We get complaints that geese are attacking clients or students,” said Cygan. “We’re trying to have a behavior modification that allows the geese to know they’re not the only ones on the property.”

Bogey and Cygan do laps around campus, marking their territory, letting the geese know they’re there, too.

“With the dogs being on a leash walking or off a leash, the geese see that and stick to their nests,” said Bogey’s owner. “So then they want to stay near the water, don’t want to attack anyone, and know they should be low key.”

The Department of Environmental Conservation reports there’s an issue with geese all around the state. At last count, the DEC estimated there are 270,000 geese, while reporting 80,000 would be ideal. At UB, this year, they have around 50 to 60 geese right now. When they eggs hatch, they could have a few hundred. Bogey and his owner’s presence on campus cuts down on the nests found in the area, as the geese are either finding different spots to lay eggs or they’re not around to lay them.

“They were everywhere last year,” said Cygan, who estimates there are 25% fewer nests this year. “Now there aren’t as many.”

He says it takes several encounters with Bogey for the geese to get the message.

“It’s a long process but effective.”

And sometimes, that means long days. But both Bogey and Cygan seem like they’re doing okay and don’t mind at all.

“I get to work with my best friend every day.”

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