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Sioux Falls airport starts to use sound cannons to scare off geese

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- Officials started using sound cannons on Tuesday, Dec. 19, to scare off Canada geese from the Sioux Falls Regional Airport.

The goal of the program is to reduce the number of geese flying in and out of open fields to the west of the airport to prevent geese from striking windshields on jets or being sucked into engines.

Julie DeJong, supervisor at Sioux Falls Animal Control, said a series of air cannons will be installed in the fields, where corn was grown this past growing season and where geese are attracted for food. The cannons won't shoot any projectiles except for air, but the public may hear loud noises in the area, officials said.

Throughout the winter, the air cannons will be moved around and fired at random intervals, but only during daytime hours..

Sioux Falls authorities are partnering with South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks with the new effort. Previous efforts involving the state agency and the landowner have been unsuccessful.

In recent weeks, a large number of geese have migrated into the Sioux Falls area. As small ponds and lakes in rural South Dakota freeze over, the birds, in addition looking for food sources in fields, start searching for new open water area and portions of the Big Sioux River in Sioux Falls remain open throughout the winter near the airport, too.

Sound cannons are a humane  and ecologically friendly way of scaring geese, said DeJong, because no chemicals or poisons are used.

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