The Use of Border Collies
in the Control of Bird and Wildlife Populations
Border Collies are now the fastest-growing and most
popular form of bird control on golf courses and other venues across the country.
The reasons for this are numerous but the primary rationale is that they are
highly intelligent, adaptable and intense working dogs that are able to cope
with most species of bird and larger wildlife in all but the worst of environments
and circumstances. Course directors and communities are discovering the true
advantages of putting a herding dog to the task of harassing geese and a wide
variety of other species, with a small investment of finances and initial handler
Here are some of the benefits of using a Border Collie in your
bird control program:
- There is no habituation problem with Border Collies on wild
bird populations. Border Collies can not only continuously pursue the bird
populations but they pose an actual, not perceived, threat to the wildlife.
- Border Collies can work in almost all weather conditions
and can travel over all forms of terrain, including following waterfowl into
marshes or open water.
- Border Collies can be used to control both bird and wildlife
(e.g. deer) populations.
- Border Collies can work for hours upon end. They have been
bred to herd sheep over hill and dale on the moors of Scotland and Wales and
this endurance translates well to other working habitats.
- Border Collies are intelligent creatures and can learn from
various situations and adapt to changing circumstances as required.
- Border Collies have the instinct to herd animals but have
been bred to avoid "going in for the kill". Since they do not harm the birds
being harassed, they can be used to deter protected species of bird and wildlife.
For this reason, in some states, they are the only acceptable means of deterring
- Border Collies are silent workers and rely on visual threats
to wildlife in their deterrence. This means that they can still be effective
in very noisy environments such as airfields or can work without disturbing
people in the area, such as golfers on a golf course.
- A single handler and Border Collie can cover a large area
of territory. The dogs can be directed on command to change directions, lie
down, approach the birds, back away, continue searching, or to quit working
without the handler ever having to change position.
- Border Collies trained for bird control come with a set of
standard verbal and whistle commands that can be learned quickly, facilitating
the easy initial training of a handler or the transfer to a new handler.
- Border Collies can also work at night on airfields to remove
deer. With a predator's vision and sense of smell, the dogs are capable of
detecting deer in dimly lit environments. The main limitation in harassing
deer at night with a Border Collie is the handler's vision, true of most other
forms of control.
- Border Collies can be precisely directed, enabling directional
dispersals of birds or wildlife. This avoids the tendency of birds,
for example, to scatter and then to regroup in
an area just behind their initial staging area.
- Border Collies can be used to deter almost all forms of wildlife,
including flocks of smaller sized birds such as gulls or blackbirds.
- Border Collies have a lifespan of approximately 14-15 years. The dogs are
capable of working as early as 1 year of age and can generally continue working
until they are 11-12 years old.
Rescue Bird Strike Control Program