PLEASANTON -- Tired of shooing away flocks of disruptive Canada geese who have been using their grass fields as a toilet, one Pleasanton elementary school has devised a novel way to get rid of the problem -- bring in the coyotes.
No, not real ones (though some parents have been fooled), but four realistic replicas strategically placed in the grass fields at Phoebe Apperson Hearst Elementary School. The school got the idea from the Oakland Raiders, who have been using the unique "scarecrows" -- complete with faux fur tails that move with the wind -- with success.
School health clerk Stacey Knight said before purchasing the coyotes for $50 each from a big-box outdoor outfitter that they'd tried sprinklers and chasing the birds away, but the flocks -- numbering in excess of 100 -- kept coming back. School custodian Stacey Leal would spend an hour each day hosing down the blacktop, the excessive bird poop making the sports fields and playground unusable.
"It was a mess out there," Knight said. "When we knew they'd been out there, we wouldn't let the kids out ... It was like something out of a Hitchcock movie."
The devious decoys have proved extremely effective -- the school has seen nary a goose nor gander since bringing them in three years ago, Knight said. That should come as welcome news to others who have gone to extreme lengths to spook our feathered friends, like Heather Farm Park in Walnut Creek, where city officials tried everything from foul-smelling sprays to a team of trained border collies called the "Goose Busters" to rid themselves of the problem.
Contact Jeremy Thomas at 925-847-2184. Follow him at Twitter.com/jet_bang.