Saturday, July 27, 2013

Newsflash: Guard Geese?!

For centuries, dogs have been used to guard houses. The instinct of a dog to protect its pack has been honed to perfection. Indeed, the bark of a large dog still makes me jump a little. It's hard to think that anything would change something so normalized.

There seems to be a revolution in thought, however. Recently, in China, the typical guard dog has been geese. Chinese police stations now use geese instead of dogs to guard their stations at night. Supposedly, it works well enough that National Geographic decided to look into it further. They likely got stared down by some irate waterfowl in the process.

What're you lookin' at, punk?  (Source.)

Could geese actually be better guard dogs than, well, guard dogs? According to National Geographic, the short answer is yes:

"Would geese make good guards?
They have amazing hearing. And almost all birds have amazing eyesight. Not only do they see better at a distance than humans do, they can also see things up close [better than we do].
Our eyes have three different color sensors that combine to build the picture in our brain. Birds add a fourth—ultraviolet. They have a much wider range of wavelengths they can view. Things are going to look sharper. And they can pick out smaller things [as well as movement].

And I guess they're not shy when an intruder is sighted?
In terms of alerting people to activity, yeah, they're very vigilant. They're territorial. And certain species can be quite loud, especially the barnyard varieties.

So they're just really good watchdogs.
That's the beauty of it: It's instinct for them. They're territorial. They could fly off anywhere they want to, but they hang around their home. That's just the way a lot of geese act. Certain of them can be rather vigilant in defending their territory." - Source with more.

They also brought up the idea of guard swans. For the record, although swans may look pretty, they  are aggressive bastards. I can see why someone would think that they might be a good idea.

The one thing geese don't do better than dogs is bite. Yes, a nip from a goose hurts, but still not as much as the bite of a Rottweiler or German Shepherd. Geese simply aren't meant to bite like that, which is probably why the idea won't catch on. Yes, they're louder, but they won't necessarily attack with the same fury as a dog.  To each his own, and if it works, don't fix it.

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