A gooseless city? Feds reveal that they can kill birds pretty much anywhere

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No goose is safe.

Federal officials laid out a scenario for a gooseless city this week as they revealed their seven-mile “kill zones” around JFK and LaGuardia airports — zones so big that they encompass nearly the entire city.

A map of the broad zone used by the federal Department of Agriculture to determine where geese can be captured and killed comprises roughly half of Brooklyn, all of Manhattan except the Battery, much of the Bronx, and all of Queens.

Such a seven-mile zone around Newark Airport would also cover half of Staten Island.

A gooseless city.

Federal Wildlife Services spokeswoman Carol Bannerman said that her agency’s goal was not to kill all geese in those zones, but she would did not specify how many had to die to ensure that airplanes flying overhead do not collide with the birds.

More than 200 geese were massacred in Prospect Park in July in a middle-of-the-night, unannounced, multi-agency operation that rounded up the animals and sent them to gas chambers.

“Wildlife Services’ [goal] is to manage resident Canada goose populations to achieve an optimal balance between the positive values and conflicts associated with these birds,” Bannerman said. “Near airports, this would mean fewer wildlife hazards and risks.”

It is unclear how the controversial operation reduced the hazard to airplanes, as the population of Prospect Park waterfowl has quickly rebounded to more than 100, and many anti-slaughter activists were stunned by the ambition of such a broad kill zone, which was revealed through a Freedom of Information Law request by this newspaper.

“The goal of eliminating geese in seven miles, it’s just not possible,” said Patrick Kwan, the state director of the Humane Society of the United States. “We know that wildlife eradication programs don’t work.”

The shocking map also confirms the long-held suspicion that the lake in Prospect Park — where the geese were slaughtered — was actually not within the seven-mile radius.

As the map reveals, the radius only barely grazes a small sliver of the eastern portion of the park.

But that didn’t stop federal agents from massacring some 290 to 400 geese (the exact number remains the subject of much speculation) on the opposite side of the park outside the kill zone.

Bannerman would only say that Prospect Park was fair game because the seven-mile kill zone boundary touched part of the park.

“The distance for airport wildlife hazard mitigation is measured from the boundary of the airport to the boundary of the ‘wildlife attractant site’ — in this case Prospect Park,” said Bannerman. “The park boundary is within the seven miles identified for removal of resident Canada geese.”

The now-notorious culling was carried out in the name of airline safety, as officials said that the birds must be eliminated to prevent a collision similar to the one that caused the “Miracle on the Hudson,” in which a plane crash landed after flying into a flock of geese.

Since then, some 1,235 geese were killed in 2009, and hundreds more were killed in 2010, though Wildlife Services has yet to reveal the exact number of birds it culled. It is unclear whether the operation will be resumed next summer, but some parkgoers are already dreading the notion of more grim reaping.

“To have a city without geese, without respect for wildlife — where does that lead you?” asked Mary Beth Artz, who organized a vigil for the geese last July. “It would be devastating, absolutely devastating.”

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Reasonable discourse

janice from kensington says:
Thanks Brooklyn Paper, for having the decency to do the research and publish the truth!
Oct. 4, 2010, 8:04 am
Eva from Prospect-Lefferts says:
Great idea...Let's create a city with no wildlife so that city kids have nothing to connect with...except of course their iphones and video games....
Oct. 4, 2010, 9:41 am
Pete from CarrollGardens says:
what are you proposing next, that we preserve the rats?
These birds are way overpopulated and a health hazard. About time something is being done.
Oct. 4, 2010, 9:56 am
arthur from PS says:
I they are referring to wiping out all geese...but if they wipe out the geese the kids can connect with the only wildlife left...the rats. good point Pete!
Oct. 4, 2010, 10:04 am
P from Brooklyn says:
Federal Wildlife Services = Bird brains.
Oct. 4, 2010, 10:48 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
An invasive species, much like sparrows. Once we got sparrows, we lost native blue birds.
Oct. 4, 2010, 10:50 am
Eva from Prospect-Lefferts says:
We lost native Bluebirds because humans introduced the sparrows and it was humans who almost wiped out Canada Geese in the early 1900's due to over hunting. We reintroduced them years later where they flocked to places we created like golf courses and parks. Places that they are attracted to. Wildlife always loses...when will it ever stop?

There is so much mis-information being flung around and the gullible public will buy any of it if it is worded in such a way where they believe officials have their best interest is at heart.

It is not about people vs. geese. It is about creating a world for both to co-exist. It can be done, but requires a little elbow grease. So sad.
Oct. 4, 2010, 11:13 am
K. from ArKady says:
Not to worry, Eva. When I want the roses to really take off here, I prune them back heavily. Same with grapes, kiwi, etc. The geese are some two million strong on the East Coast.

What they will get with this pathetic little cull is more competition amongst those two million birds for that prime habitat. More birds in the general area, more migratory activity, and more plane strikes over and above what would have occurred IF THEY JUST LEFT THINGS IN BALANCE.

So really, it'll work out OK for the geese. Lots more geese want to get in there, and there will be no local geese to drive them off. For the talking monkey, not so much, you know? It's sad but kind of funny, like watching someone punch themselves in the face.
Oct. 4, 2010, 12:59 pm
Paul from East Village says:
I wish I could fly away with the geese to a place far far away from here.
Oct. 4, 2010, 1:19 pm
Lynn from BKLYN says:
K brings up some excellent points!!! wow....great food for thought.

Who will they blame for a birdstrike when all resident geese are gone? The Monk parakeets?
Oct. 4, 2010, 1:58 pm
Stefan from Hell's Kitchen says:
Where can I get a full size image of that map?
Oct. 4, 2010, 4:15 pm
Cathy from WT says:
i don't trust that Bannerman chick
Oct. 4, 2010, 4:50 pm
Moshe Aron Kestenbaum from Williamsburg ODA says:
MY eulogy that I said for the geese.

The lake was thawing, the early spring sun reflected its glare,
the lovely geese just landed, one plummeting through the air. As they execute their dances and drills
over flat land and rolling hills.
The livegeese nestled beside her lifeless mate, silent in the reeds, his still form was no longer receptive to his mate's nurturing needs. She rested beside him, nudging softly, waiting for the same,
eyes blinking, not comprehending, waiting, but nothing came.

If I could put together a quorum ( a minyan ) to assemble in the park for the geeese that were killed I will say a Kadish "
Oct. 4, 2010, 5:48 pm
Ann P from Park Slope says:
Moshe-that was beautifully said. Geese mate for life and show more loyalty to their mates and other members of the flock than the majority of humans.

It's too bad the USDA didn't care about that when they rounded them up with their goslings and exterminated them.
Oct. 4, 2010, 7:20 pm
Allen G. from BKLYN says:
The geese that were involved with the "Miracle on the Hudson" were migratory, not local geese. Also who is paying for this project, how much does it cost to kill 400 geese?
Oct. 4, 2010, 8:24 pm
I. Claudius from Queens says:
Carol Bannerman should attend the roundups & the gassings & she should think twice about receiving a paycheck for her job, which is one filled with hypocrisy.
If she saw how inhumanely those birds are treated maybe she would stop covering for the henchman of the US gov't.
shame on you, Carol.
Oct. 4, 2010, 8:29 pm
Steven Rosenberg from Park Slope says:
"migratory, not local geese"

How do you know--did you ask them? Even if true, where did the "local" geese come from?

Me suspects you know nearly zero in this doman.

Find another cause. I suggest you get zealous about opposing the climate change believers.
Oct. 4, 2010, 8:51 pm
art from Prospect Heights says:
@Steven R.-

The process of migration is a "flock learned behavior." There are no obvious physical differences in appearance between migratory and resident Canada geese.

The biggest difference between the two populations is behavioral. Migratory Canada geese nest in Canada and are typically found in the mid-atlantic, more southern areas from October through March.

Resident Canada geese can be found in Prospect Park year round and pretty much just pond hop at a lower altitude between Greenwood Cemetery and the Park….

Why don't you find a cause, Steven? there are plenty that could use your honking.
Oct. 5, 2010, 11:13 am
Carleen from DUMBO says:
To Steven R
Local geese can fill in any empty available space, probably being chased from other "residential areas" - however they stay, nest and breed....they do not migrate because they do not know how to migrate. It is a behavior passed on from parents to hatchlings. If the parents don't migrate either will their goslings.
Oct. 5, 2010, 12:04 pm
Steven Rosenberg from Park Slope says:
So, the federal authorities are just sadistic morons, and the geese pose no danger, to any degree, and reducing their population won't do anything. REALLY?

Human life is infinitely more valuable than the life of a goose, so I think the burden is on yee goose extremists to show reducing their population will do zero.

Believe me, I am the last person to give credit to the Obamoron Administration, or comparably dumb and dangerous state and City governments. Yet even with that perspective, I'll side with the Feds/authorities on this one.

If they're safe for food, however, I wish the geese would be used for food.
Oct. 5, 2010, 3:21 pm
Mark L from PS says:
reducing their population by way of horrific gassing will do nothing to make you safer in the skies.

Haven't you noticed there is over a quarter of the population back in town?

Ka-ching! $$$
Oct. 5, 2010, 4:51 pm
Dr. Christa Pardeller says:
Don't kill.
God says: Don't kill.
Love animals, treat animals well and don’t kill animals.
Animals are living creature. Don’eat animals, they’re also living creature and friends.
Don’t eat meat, don’t eat fish.
Oct. 6, 2010, 4:11 am
PattyA from Manhattan says:
Carol Bannerman has never personally attended a goose gassing.

When asked how long it takes the geese to die, Bannerman replied to me that according to workers who reported back to her, the animals can take anywhere "from five minutes UP TO AN HOUR" to die.

Now just imagine that!

The birds thumping their feet against steel cylinders, holding their breaths as long as possible to not take in the toxic, burning fumes of CO2. (Waterfowl can hold breaths longer than other animals.)

And they call THAT "euthanasia!!"

Perhaps I should take out the part, "thumping their feet against steel cylinders." According to severl reports the feet of the geese rounded up in Prospect Park were bound with plastic ties, some of which were found the next day in the park. Perhaps that was the reason why. Workers don't want to hear the feet thumping when the birds are shoved in and are dying in the gas chambers.
Oct. 6, 2010, 6:06 am
Steven Rosenberg from Park Slope says:
So, they use C02? Maybe Al Gore can make a new film: An Inconvenient Goose...

Seems like a humane way to kill the birds--would you prefer gunshot?
Oct. 6, 2010, 8:25 am
art from Prospect Heights says:
Burning from the inside out is not humane, Steven R. Come to think of it, either are you.

Do you have any pets, Steven R?

I hope not.
Oct. 6, 2010, 11:12 am
Thomas from Fort Greene says:
umm,yep, I have a problem with this.

"Refers to the practice of ending a life in a manner which relieves pain and suffering."
Oct. 6, 2010, 11:15 am
Thomas from Fort Greene says:
umm, yep. I have a problem with this.

Euthanasia refers to the practice of ending a life in a manner which relieves pain and suffering
Oct. 6, 2010, 11:16 am
Thomas from Fort Greene says:
umm, yep. I think I have a problem with this

Euthanasia refers to the practice of ending a life in a manner which relieves pain and suffering.
Oct. 6, 2010, 11:21 am
Joey Bots from Botswood says:
Bye Bye - Vermin Geese!!!!
Oct. 6, 2010, 3:44 pm
Joey Bots from Botswood says:
Why are u libs so worried about these stupid and vile geese, yet when it comes to unborn humans you have no conscience? Who will write a eulogy for them? - I will never understand you guys!
Oct. 6, 2010, 3:50 pm
K. from ArKady says:
Indeed Joey; every time you fap off to your autographed picture of Sarah Palin, 100 million to 500 million unborn babies are killed, right there in your sweaty palm. It's genocide on the scale Hitler would be proud of. Yet, you continue to do so. Can't you get right with God?
Oct. 6, 2010, 10:41 pm
L from AllOver says:
Joey Bots, I am not a liberal nor am I for killing unborn babies. What was done to these birds and what may happen again to "appease and ease" is deplorable.

Geese are not vile creatures. They are intelligent, loyal and deserve respect.

Oct. 7, 2010, 10:51 am
Joey Bots from Botswood says:
Hey K - Actually I enjoy fapping off to pictures of Barney Frank - do you know him? Maybe the three of us can get together some time!! Don't leave me hanging sweet stuff!!
Oct. 7, 2010, 9:46 pm
Clare from Bay Ridge says:
Has anyone noticed that there are NO GEESE AT ALL along the water front from the 59th street pier, under the Verrazano Bridge, all the way to Toys R Us? There used to be Brandt's and Canada Geese all along this waterfront and now there are none. Were they euthanized? Was this one of the locations? The Hudson River is a major migratory route, so if that is what is happening it really is a terrible thing.
Oct. 9, 2010, 7:58 pm
Liz from Bay Ridge says:
Deplorable that they are trying to control what happens on a major migration route.

Oct. 11, 2010, 3:31 pm
Marion from Manhattan says:
It is interesting that, despite killing thousands of resident geese since 2009, an article on says

'Uptick in strikes has happened while the total number of flights has fallen off by a few thousand since 2009 at Kennedy and Newark airports.

Collisions between birds and airplanes have risen 31 percent at the New York City area's major airports in the past two years, according to federal government statistics....Overall, wildlife strikes at New York's three major airports totaled 380 between April 1, 2009, and April 1, 2010, and airplanes had 499 collisions with wildlife between April 1, 2011, and April 1 of this year, statistics show.

.....overall wildlife strikes increased by 31% in the past two years and totalled 499 for NYC's three major airports. This is an average of 170 strikes per airport.

...This is interesting...because at YVR in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada they reported 217 strikes at the one airport for 2010 and didn't get their panties in a knot over it. And Vancouver does NOT round up and/or kill geese or any birds outside the immediate airport environment and only then when they can't be moved by nonlethal means.

The aviationpro article goes on to say that efforts to reduce risk include - "The authority's three airports have at least one employee assigned to wildlife mitigation efforts each day." ONE EMPLOYEE ASSIGNED TO WILDLIFE MITIGATION A DAY!!?? employee...ha ha who covers when they go to the bathroom, for lunch,and coffee? There is something wrong there. I think their wildlife management is far too dependent on just having the USDA come in and do their jobs for kill all the birds every year.

Vancouver, where there are 217 strikes per year, has a TEAM assigned to wildlife 'mitigation'
This is an article describing Vancouver's wildlife management...probably one of the most rigorous in North America.
May 20, 2012, 1:37 am
josh from brooklyn says:
March 28, 2013, 11:46 pm

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