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The "goosebuster" is back

The Goosebuster could be coming to a park or beach near you.

Steve Wambolt is once again patrolling Petrie Island in Ottawa’s east end with his Canada Goose-chasing unmanned aerial vehicle or UAV – what people commonly refer to as a drone.

CTV Ottawa first told the story of Wambolt and his goosebusting drone last summer. At the time, The Orleans resident wanted to pitch his aerial photography business to the City. When he approached local Councillor, Bob Monette, the first question was “how low can you fly?” Monette was more concerned with chasing geese than taking pictures.

And the Goosebuster was born. After a successful trial program last summer, Wambolt has now signed a three-year contract with the City to chase geese off the beach safely but effectively with his multi-rotor UAV.

Wambolt has honed his drone to make it the most effective goose deterrent possible. “The drone itself makes a very intimidating sound,” he says. “So just the natural sound that comes out of the drone is a big help.” To that he’s added a specific orange and black colour scheme – apparently a goose’s least-favourite colours. He’s covered the drone in LED lighting. And he’s installed an on-board audio system that emits the sounds of predators, from hawks to wolves.

And it works. “We started off here last year with 60 to 80 geese at the start of the operation,” says Monette. “This year there’s hardly any geese at all.” Wambolt says he hasn’t seen one in the past 5 days. Even the gulls are scarce.

Wambolt has the permits and paperwork in place to expand his service to other City parks and beaches in the coming days. He has also signed a contract with the City of Gatineau.

According to the Center for Wildlife Damage Management, a single goose can defecate every 20 minutes, producing up to 1.5 pounds of feces a day. Goose droppings can be a nuisance on the beach and can increase the e coli count in the water to levels that make it unfit for swimming.

Eric Longley, CTV Ottawa

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