They’re white. They’re shiny. They’re very pretty.

And they’re fake.

Those who may have visited Tilley Pond recently may have noticed the fake floating swans. The Darien Parks & Recreation Commission recently placed eight of them on the pond in the park, 38 West Avenue, in hopes of driving away the geese — and it’s apparently working.

Robert Macdonald, who lives across the street from the pond on Lakeside Avenue, said the geese disappeared the moment the swans arrived.

“The geese left immediately,” he said. “I have not seen any geese since the swans were put here.”

Geese on the pond


Geese have been “a problem” at the pond for at least the past year, maybe longer, according to Macdonald
, who has lived in his home for 13 years.

There were geese dropping all over the entire area, he said.

“They just meandered around the park. They kind of took over because they kept having baby geese,” Macdonald said. “So, they kept multiplying and making their way around the park.”

They’re also not friendly, he added. “They snip at kids or other animals, like dogs.”

Town events are held at Tilley Pond Park throughout the year, including a boat regatta, benefit concerts, food fairs, and caroling. The Parks and Recreation Department had been getting complaints about the large amount of geese for a while.

“I’ve seen about 20 at one time,” Parks and Recreation Director Pam Gery said.

The previous solution the town had for the geese situation was hiring a company that used dogs to come twice a year and scare the geese.

“Whenever they did it, the geese left and didn’t come back,” Macdonald said. “When they started to come back, they’d bring the dogs back.”

“So, we thought that was a great solution,” he said, referring to himself and his neighbors.

Cost savings


According to Gery , the dog company was effective but “extremely expensive — from $15,000 to $20,000.”

Aside from Tilley Pond, the dog company services were also being utilized at Cherry Lawn and at the Town Hall fields.

“We were paying all this money, and we were doing multiple parks,” Gery said.

Gery was charged with finding a cost saving solution to the problem.

“We took a better look at the budget to reassess the geese situation to see which parks really need it,” she said. “We are trying to be smart and fiscally responsible.”

Because of the swans’ success in other towns, Gery said the department decided to try them as well. They cost $52 each. It was determined that the geese haven’t been as much of a problem at the other locations in town to warrant the swans be placed there. So, currently, they’re only at Tilley Pond.

Solar powered device


Aside from the swans, Tilley Pond is now also using a solar-powered mechanism called a denier to deter the geese. There are three deniers in the pond, which cost $250 each, according to Gery .

At night, the denier turns on yellow and purple lights that the geese don’t like, she said.

“It makes them feel uncomfortable and that’s where they like to sleep,” said Gery, adding that Newington is using a denier which has been very effective.

She added that the fake swans and deniers are “good attempts to get rid of the geese problem while being very mindful of spending and not hurting the nature that’s out there.”

‘Cheesy’


Macdonald said he has mixed feelings about the swans.

“I’m torn,” he said. “I don’t hate it but I think the fake swans look cheesy.”

People drive by and they start taking pictures. thinking they’re real. Then they get up close and realize they’re fake. “I think that’s been kind of funny,” Macdonald said.

“We liked the first solution,” he said, adding that based upon conversations he has had with many of his neighbors, “They want it back.”

However, as is the case any time there is a change, “they may just get used to it,” he said.

Tilley Pond is “amazing,” according to Macdonald. “It’s nice to see that it’s getting more attention in town.”

“We are going to continue to address this issue, and if it works, then we hit a home run,” Gery said. “If it doesn’t, then we will assess what we will do next.”

sfox@darientimes.com