City Cast

Madison’s Fake Predators

Hayley Sperling
Hayley Sperling
Posted on November 8
Predator Decoy at Vilas Park

Three-dimensional coyote decoys are used in conjunction with other practices to keep geese away. (S. Mayer / City of Madison)

No one wants geese on their lawn. They’re loud, they’re mean, and they tend to leave unwanted fertilizer, if you know what I mean.

But what’s the best way to keep the geese at bay? And how does the city manage the issue across its network of parks?

The answer: Fake coyotes.

Made of plastic and fake fur, (and purchased for about $70 online, according to the Wisconsin State Journal) these fake coyotes can be pretty convincing from a distance.

The city puts the artificial attackers in parks across town including Vilas, Esther Beach, and Wingra parks to keep geese from congregating in the areas. The effort is part of the city’s Canada Goose management plan, which also includes the use of strobe lights and “hazing” the geese to keep them at bay.

These efforts — as silly as some might sound — are important because an abundance of waterfowl and gull populations isn’t just an annoyance for residents, it can also lead to increased risk of disease and elevated bacteria levels in lake water. (So don’t feed the geese!)

One Reddit user spotted the fake predator on the Capitol building.

One Reddit user spotted the fake predator on the Capitol building.

Madison parks aren’t the only places you may spot one of the decoy hunters. They’re also used on the roof of the capitol building for the same purposes.

Just like the plastic pink flamingo is Madison’s official city bird, is it time to make the plastic coyote Madison’s official mammal?

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