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Echo Press photo by Lowell Anderson Swan decoys floating on the pond inside Alexandria's Noonan Park are intended to discourage more geese from landing in the park.

A swan song for Noonan's geese?

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The swans at Noonan Park in Alexandria are fooling people and geese.

That's a good thing, especially the part about the geese.

The swans - four of them - are actually decoys placed by the Alexandria Park Department in an effort to discourage more geese from landing in the park.

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Park Superintendent Bill Thoennes has been trying to control the growing goose problem at Noonan for sometime now.

Their droppings created a mucky mess of the pond this past spring, which cleared up after the city treated the water. But the problems continue to surface.

The over-population of geese has also created "landmines" that park strollers are finding harder and harder to avoid.

So about a month ago, Thoennes, acting on something he had heard about swans and geese not getting along, went out and bought a couple of pair of swan decoys for $160.

Park crews placed them at strategic locations on the pond, re-positioning them occasionally to add to the realism.

So far, the ploy appears to be working, Thoennes said. He said the goose population at Noonan's for this time of year is down.

Thoennes said he's witnessed the swans' effectiveness.

"I've watched a formation of geese coming in, set their wings but then after looking down and seeing the swans, they flew off in another direction," he said.

The swans, which move when stirred by a breeze, have also fooled a few two-legged passersby.

"We've had a few phone calls from people saying, 'Do you know you have swans at Noonan's Park?' " Thoennes said.

It shows the lifelike swans are doing their job - and stopping more geese from doing theirs.

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