Local News

How Lynn is using wacky, waving, inflatable, arm-flailing tube men to scare away birds

"We’re not hurting them or anything. We’re just politely asking them to go somewhere else."

Three yellow inflatable tube men overlook a pond
Lynn residents have turned to giant inflatable tube men to combat hundreds of birds, which, for years, have overrun the city's Goldfish Pond. Courtesy of Trish Greene

An intimidating trio of inflatable, arm-flailing tube men looms over Goldfish Pond in Lynn. They serve one purpose: to scare away the pond’s geese and ducks.

For years, the Goldfish Pond Association, made up of Lynn residents who look after the pond and surrounding area, has dealt with an ever-frustrating bird problem. Hundreds of ducks and geese have trampled the displayed flowers on the pond’s island, littered the sidewalks with poop, and polluted the water.

“For the last few years we have been inundated with hundreds and hundreds –there are sometimes 300 ducks and geese out there at one time,” Trish Greene, a member of the association, told Boston.com “And it’s only an acre of land.”


And while the association has tried other strategies in the past to shoo the pond’s birds — using chemicals, ribbons, and fishing line — each time, the bird’s became familiar with the distractions.

But about a week ago, the association implemented a new strategy: the three tube men.

The bright-yellow inflatables are set to inflate on a 10-minute timer, eight times a day, to prevent the birds from becoming accustomed to the distraction.

And so far, the inflatable men have proven a worthy opponent to the loitering birds.

“Prior to putting them up, we had about 30 ducks and geese hanging out on the pond,” Greene said. “Now we have a stubborn seven ducks and geese. They haven’t gotten the message. The majority have gotten the message.”

And since their implementation, residents have taken notice — with one family who lives adjacent to the pond teaching their 3-year-old how to tell time based on the inflatable men’s timer.

“My son loves them,” 31-year-old Lynn resident Dakota Bontos said. “He’s learning his time of day based on when the tube men pop up.”

And Bontos, who also spends time maintaining the island, said the tube men have helped rid the pond of its annoying birds.


“The ducks and geese have always been a problem, they make a mess everywhere,” he said. “But the tube men seem to be working. Every time the birds come back they kind of scare them off again.”

“Its fun way to do it, and harmless,” he added. “We’re not hurting them or anything. We’re just politely asking them to go somewhere else.”

Courtesy of Trish Greene

Members of the association first came up with the inflatable men strategy last Halloween, when an inflatable ghost decoration scared several birds away.

“We had never seen something so positive in getting them to leave,” Greene said. “So we decided, this spring, to purchase additional inflatable dancing machines and put them out on the island and see if it was going to work to get the ducks and geese off our island.”

Part of the problem, according to Greene, is visitors often feed the birds, luring them back to the pond even when most ducks and geese migrate out of the state.

“We are getting a little bit of push back from the people who feed these ducks and geese,” Greene said. “It’s just not good.”

“It makes them stay — these are migrating birds and we’ve had mild winters where they stay around the entire time. And there will be 300 geese on the island,” she added.

Courtesy of Trish Greene


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