Magog recruits a dog that has been cut down to scare the birds

By Pierre-Olivier Girard

TALAGSAAN. The City of Magog continues to show agility to scare away harmful waterfowl in its parks on the shores of Lake Memphremagog. In addition to the birds of prey that have been in use for six years, a very special dog has now been added to the group of scarers.

Équinox made the first “transfers” in 2021 as part of a pilot project with the owner and wildlife management officer for Environnement Faucon, Noémie Grimard. An experience that has proven conclusive enough to call their services on a permanent basis for the current summer season, six days a week. Their job is to scare the waterfowl that are part of the swimmer’s itch cycle.

What makes the situation more original is the fact that the Equinox does its tasks on three legs. “I adopted him from a shelter and uncertainly, he was a different boxer. When he got there he was a stray dog ​​with a broken leg. Unfortunately, they had to cut off his left hind leg. .But to see him go, I can tell you it won’t stop him from running very fast! ”, Assured Noémie Grimard.


This technique is also used to scare away birds that live on the cliffs of Memphré, more precisely from Pointe Merry to the coast of the Cantons. If there were geese, for example, Noémie Grimard untied her partner’s leash, which was then chased. Everything was done without contact and without shouting. “The goal is not to capture and harm the bird. Equinox is trained like a game through positive reinforcement. If he succeeds, he is very proud of himself and he comes back to me to play and get medications. ”

One of the challenges for the duo was working in a very busy environment during the tourist season. Even if Equinox is very social with people and other dogs, he wears a bib that shows he needs the place to work.

A polite way to let people know he’s not a mascot. “People are obviously curious. They came to meet us and ask questions, especially because of his amputation. We’re just trying to avoid a lot of people by remembering why we’re here. Plus, I know it’s a park with a lot of passers-by, including people who don’t like dogs. That’s why I can’t separate it anywhere and anytime, ”said the manager.

An atypical schedule

One with an animal health technique and special falconry training determines that the essential times of the day to scare the birds are always during quiet hours in the park. He and his best friend are usually the first to arrive in the morning and one of the last to leave. “Birds wake up in the first light of day and when they settle in a place, they stay there all day. That’s why I usually start work at 4am. It was early, but at the same time, I could see the sunrise and it was beautiful! Otherwise, it happens at night, when the birds land to sleep.

In addition to changing her work schedule, Noémie Grimard has many other tools in her range to surprise her “victims”. In addition to his two birds of prey, which are effective in the air against predators, he can use a remote-controlled boat that is the best tool to repel ducks. He also has an auditory scaring device, which produces a loud bang like a gunshot. However, he claims it is used rarely to avoid trouble with nearby residents.

“For it to work, we have to have different techniques and our time of presence. Because otherwise, the birds will get used to it. I’ve been there two years and I’ve already found that the birds are a bit stressed when I arrive. They even knew my car! When I parked, they immediately looked in my direction and when I opened my door and they saw my yellow bib, they immediately ran away, ”he concluded.

It should be noted that throughout the summer, statistics are compiled in real time and an analysis report of the results is sent to the Municipality at the end of the season.

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