Couple find geese big honking problem

  • The MacNeelys spoke to the Hancock Select Board about geese on Norway Pond. Staff photo by Benji Rosen

  • John Jordan, the Select Board chair, reviews the Away With Geese products at the board’s meeting April 18, 2016 (Benji Rosen / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Benji Rosen—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript...

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 4/20/2016 7:28:02 PM

The MacNeelys fell in love with Hancock the first time they visited from Boston. On a snowy Sunday afternoon, the family parked on Main Street, and walked to an empty beach on Norway Pond. The water was clear and scene was quiet.

When the MacNeelys moved the following summer, they were welcomed by dozens of the honking birds  – the Canada geese had returned from their winter down South. 

They chased the geese away in the morning, only to see them return in the afternoon. Paul and Rebecca offered to support the Select Board in its efforts to keep the geese off the beach for good.

The board liked Paul’s idea of purchasing one or more Away With Geese, a solar-powered strobe light designed to disturb geese until they flee the area. The MacNeelys even offered to buy one at $394 if the manufacturer says it will work on the pond.

The public beach on Norway Pond is free of geese most of the year. But, at the start of the summer, they start to flock in. Selectman Erik Spitzbarth said the town recognizes Norway Pond is on the geese’s partial migration flyway, but doesn’t want the birds to nest there.

The town has tried everything to scare the geese away. They purchased an alligator decoy, which the geese, once desensitized to the fake animal, have taken a liking to. It adopted an ordinance that forbids anyone feed them. The town encourages owners to set dogs with a disposition for chasing birds loose on the geese. The town does not mow the natural grass around the pond, so swimming geese can’t see a nesting habitat. N.H. Fish and Game and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have said the town could grease geese eggs, which the board said requires volunteers. The town has even considered purchasing the Goosinator, a menacing, remote-controlled drone. The most perplexing part is the geese’s fondness for the beach.

“There’s no food source there,” said Diane Kendall, the town administrator. “It’s going to take a village to get rid of the geese, short of the Select Board taking shifts.”

The board and the MacNeelys agreed to explore if Away with Geese is the solution. The manufacturer claims on its website the light is “scarcely noticeable to humans” but “very disruptive” to the sleep of geese, “causing them to find another habitat after just a few restless nights.” Each unit is effective in a 75-foot radius. The board said it might need three or more of the devices.

If the manufacturer convinces them the product will work, they will consider it. The board was not sure the Recreation Department could absorb to buy several units, but welcomed donations.

Benji Rosen can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 228, or

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