These geese and their young are dead now. All four-hundred of them. You see, the thing is, although this particular population of geese lived 0n Prospect Park Lake (in New York City) year ’round, never really leaving their home, they were eliminated by the Feds.

This non-migratory, year-round population was a few blocks from our old NYC home, and as you can imagine, were surrogate pets to many New York families. They had names, hundreds of people visited (and fed) them daily, even knew some of the personalities. The one that had lost the top of his beak was known by everyone as “Beaky.”

Early this week, the entire population was herded into a fenced area, packed into crates, and gassed – in an effort to reduce their numbers near New York City airports. Evidently, the order was to eliminate significant populations of the birds within seven miles of the NYC airports. Local Prospect Park residents said that the birds were home Tuesday morning. Wednesday morning, all four-hundred were simply gone.

I understand that these things sometimes must be done, and we humans need to be protected. However, it seems like there must be a better way of protecting the airports. Killing every Canada Goose within a seven mile radius? Hmmm. Yeah, I guess. I dunno. However, it remains a sticky wicket – Canada geese were responsible for over 600 damaging airstrikes to U.S. planes between 1990 and 2008, and their population is rapidly increasing.

I think I can be level-headed enough to understand that I am upset because I had a personal attachment to these particular birds, even a personal attachment to specific birds. However … wow.

The final humiliation? The honkers were double-bagged, dumped into a landfill.



Filed under adirondacks

11 responses to “Goosed

  1. I do understand why they did it.
    I don’t understand if they left them in the bags after they got to the land fill though.
    Maybe they thought that was desease prevention. I don’t know.

    Still… breaks my heart.

  2. themac

    How sad. There needs to better means to control populations of the Feds! 🙂

  3. Yikes. I don’t know what else to say…. When it’s the safety of people vs. animals’ lives – there seems to be no good, fair answer…of course I don’t want to die in a plane crash because of a goose, but on the other hand, I don’t want to kill all the geese either! That is really a tough question. On top of it, for all they know, somehow geese will find that spot again, and start populating it, and they’ll have to do the same thing all over again… I hate to even think of that.

    We sort of have a similar quandary here – too many deer. Their numbers keep increasing. They are causing numerous auto accidents, the sides of the roads are always littered with battered carcasses, they destroy trees in the winter, and probably most concerning, they increasingly spread the lyme infested deer tick population. But other than issuing more hunting permits to try to cut down the numbers, what can you do?? Coyotes are on the rise here too – south of me there have been two attacks on young children by coyotes (just regular coyotes – not rabid ones). What do we do about that? Not let young kids play outside? Try to shoot all the coyotes?? I really don’t know the answers to these questions.

  4. I’m not even going to try and deal with whether or not this should or should not have been done. …But gassed?!? Couldn’t they at the least, as the very least, have butchered them and put the meat to good use?

  5. There was a similar situation in Bend, Oregon recently. Fortunately, they had the foresight to donate the meat to local food banks instead of dumping the carcasses in a landfill.

    It’s such a tricky issue and, unfortunately, not a new one. The Feds have been culling non-migratory flocks since 1999. Of course, in the end, humans are to blame from start to finish. These birds are non-migratory because people provide them with a year-round source of food. Feed the wildlife and they’ll eventually become pests – that’s the way it goes with pretty much any species.

  6. What a waste. I’m with Carolyn–someone could have used that meat.A similar problem occurred at a local state park with the geese. They used water cannons, noisemakers and I don’t know what-all to get the geese to move on. I’m not sure what worked in the end, or if the geese were shot, but the population decreased dramatically. Now it’s on the rise again.

    Which makes me think–what do the animals think about us congregating in cities, paving over the wilderness, and generally invading their habitat? Being top of the food chain (at the moment) gives us the power to do these things, but will we always be at the top? Sometimes I wonder.

  7. ADKtricollie

    Simply put, animals and nature in general always suffer the horrible consequences of man. Build too many houses, take away the land, leave garbage unattended and they cry “oh god there’s a bear and what a nuisance!” Let’s shoot it!

    Oil spills there you go again, wildlife loses once again because of man. Some migratory birds, the wolf killings out west..the stories go on and on. There are a small handful of us that truly love, appreciate and respect animals and all nature. But the rest of the human race, well I don’t need to say it.

    The guy that is now president that I had high hopes for, environmentally is a great let down. A corporate whore just like the rest of them.

  8. Beth


  9. Criminy. If these were non-migratory geese they probably never strayed seven freakin’ miles for anything, much less to fly willy nilly into oncoming airplanes. *morons*

  10. People need to learn that wild animals/birds are not pets. When wild animals are fed by humans it always the animals that lose. Unfortunately the very people who fed and loved these birds are also reponsible for their deaths. Similar to what the bears in the high peaks are experiencing. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying ” a fed bear is a dead bear” guess it works for geese too. People we need to keep the wild…wild!

  11. It is very sad and I agree with Sheri that probably these particular geese never strayed far from their comfy digs in Prospect Park. And I am also with Carolyn, that if they are going to “cull” the geese, the least they could do is give the meat to homeless shelters, etc. I’m sure the poor and unemployed would be grateful for a goose dinner.

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