No. 792



On the surface, it may appear that what I have to share with you today will not have any personal benefits for you. However, if you will think about the principle it involves, I believe you will agree that it does. The principle can be stated like this: The vast majority of the problems we face in life do have a solution, often a creative solution, if we will only do a little research and spend some quality time thinking about them.
Such was the case for businessman-developer, Tom Hastings, who lives in Hingham, Mass. Tom had just built a 45-unit condominium in his community and had donated $3 million in the form of state-of-the-art baseball and football fields with lighting, irrigation and scoreboard. He also gave $150,000 toward a new clubhouse and saved the town $1 million by remediating the construction site and cleaning up parts of the 500-acre Bare Cove Park that nearly encircled the development.
Tom Hastings appears to be a great citizen, but soon after he finished the project and the grass was planted on the ball fields, along came a large flock of Canada Geese. They took a real liking to his grass and also left behind pounds of droppings each day. At this point he vowed not to allow the geese to destroy his vision. However, he admitted that “Grass growth was hindered by the one-two punch of drought and geese.” After some research, he found a novel, safe, humane and effective way to get rid of the goose problem. His solution came in the form of large, two-dimensional, portable plastic coyote decoys. Coyotes are predators of Canada Geese, and placing decoys around the ball fields solved the problem. Hastings says, “Geese aren’t dumb. We have to move the replica coyotes regularly, so the birds don’t catch on.”
Experts say that geese problems can quickly get out of control. Adult geese weigh up to 14 pounds and each female can lay four to eight eggs per season. Droppings can be a source of disease. Geese are migratory birds and have become the most common waterfowl species in North America. When they find an area, close to water, where there are easy pickings, they just stay and don’t move on. Most of this information came from an article written by Stan Hurwitz and, after reading it, I went to the Internet and found that anyone can purchase these life-like “photo-realistic silhouettes” for about $30 each.
At this point I would like to add my own comments to supplement Stan’s article, as I had some first-hand experience with this problem a few years ago when I played in a golf tournament on a course a few miles south of where I live. This course was only a few miles from the Arkansas River and wild Canada Geese had literally taken over the course. On almost every hole when you hit a ball onto the green, you would find geese there or that they had been there, as evidenced by droppings all over the green. I just had a humorous thought. If someone would invent a golf ball that could navigate around goose droppings they could make a fortune. You do have to have a clear path to the hole to have any chance of making the putt.
But on a more serious note, at the time I thought about these coyote decoys as a deterrent but never took the time to contact the course owners. In the future, when you see a wild goose problem on a ball field or golf course, you might try or recommend some coyote decoys. As I said in the beginning, most every problem does have a solution.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To begin a bookcase literacy project visit You won’t go wrong helping a needy child.)