After fouling up the fountains at Memorial Park, Canada’s iconic bird is no longer welcome at the expansive green space near the legislature.
The provincial government has installed a sound-emitting device at one corner of the park to deter Canada geese from nesting in the area or wading into the fountains located between Broadway and York Avenue.
Last year, the droppings of an excessive number of Canadian geese fouled the fountains at the north end of the park and created "unusual mechanical" issues that required repair and increased cleaning efforts, a spokesperson for the government said.
Pedestrians who pass through the area or enjoy springtime in the park shouldn’t be surprised to hear the shriek of a bird not typically found in downtown Winnipeg.
The device can produce calls of up to 40 species, including distress cries of regional birds and the calls of birds of prey, the province said. The province has also set up decoy birds in the park and near the legislature.
"While the device is being used temporarily, the hope is it will keep the geese away from the area so the public can enjoy the fountain and surrounding park," the spokesperson said.
The province did not answer questions about the extent of damage caused by the geese, how long the newly refurbished fountain was out of order, nor the cost to repair the mechanical issues.
It was unclear when the fountains at Memorial Park would begin flowing for the season.
Canada geese are not easily deterred from their favourite gathering spots and are increasingly becoming a nuisance due to their growing numbers, said Jim Shapiro, a University of Manitoba senior scholar and former director of the Avian Behaviour Laboratory.
"You’re not going to chase them away. You’re only displacing the problem to another location," he said.
Geese wandered throughout the park Friday, seemingly oblivious to the noise.
Geese will learn to ignore the strange bird calls, Shapiro said.
As the population of birds increases, people can expect to see Canada geese in more undesirable locations, including rail lines, parking lots and lanes, parks and sports fields, and near garbage bins, Shapiro said.
"They’re multiplying, they’re protected federally… and this has been an ongoing problem for many years. They’re here in Winnipeg almost any place you look," he said.
Last summer, the provincial government completed a $3.7-million project to refurbish the Memorial Park fountain, described as the centrepiece of the park.
Memorial Provincial Park was a project of former premier Duff Roblin in the late 1950s to pay tribute "to those who gave their lives for freedom," the province said.
The fountain, called the City Hydro Fountain, opened in 1962 and recognized the 50th anniversary of Winnipeg Hydro, which began operations in 1911. Before the fountain malfunctioned in the late 1990s, it performed sweeping waterscapes and light shows in an homage to the northern lights.
Danielle Da Silva
Danielle Da Silva is a general assignment reporter.