Quantcast

Dead goose walking?

The current population of Canada geese in Prospect Park probably doesn't know it, but federal officials can kill them.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

Two geese showed up at the lake in Prospect Park yesterday, just six days after 250 were rounded up and slaughtered by federal officials in the name of airplane safety — and park-goers are already wondering when the newcomers will be killed, too.

Ed Bahlman, who patrols the lake every morning — and who first noticed the disappearance of the geese last week — said that there may have been as many as four survivors of the federally mandated massacre, which involved herding around hundreds of geese into a pen before gassing them with carbon dioxide.

According to Bahlman, the surviving geese had not yet molted, enabling them to elude the federal agents herding up them up.

“They have their flight feathers, so we assume that these guys were able to get away,” said Bahlman. “The other geese tried to walk away and weren’t successful, obviously.”

The discovery of the geese reinforces the statements of some bird experts that the mass extermination of the birds is ineffective in controlling their population in the long term.

“The goose population is so robust in the northeast that in four or five years, we will be right back where we were in Prospect Park [before the slaughter],” said Glenn Phillips, the executive director of New York City Audubon.

“With the absence of predators, their population will expand to fill in the habitat,” he added.

The mass killing last week has horrified many Park Slope Parents, though others have spoken out in support of the move, which helps prevent goose-airplane collisions, which can bring down an airplane.

The goose sightings were just the latest development in the killing of the geese. In other news:

• The Humane Society of the United States called on federal officials to “immediately halt” its killing program and focus on “a plan that will truly protect public safety.” The group claims that evidence shows that airplanes typically encounter migrating birds, not resident populations like the hundreds that call Prospect Park home.

“This inhumane, ineffective and costly contract is the wrong way to address the goose population,” said Patrick Kwan, the Humane Society’s New York director.

• Borough President Markowitz, who owns a parrot, pronounced himself “distraught” over the killings. “I have a special place in my heart for our winged companions,” he added, saying he will demand that federal officials “find a way to maximize air safety and control avian populations through methods that do not involve the wholesale slaughter of these beautiful birds.”

• A group of geese lovers has organized a memorial vigil for Saturday.

“We’re outraged, saddened, and confused,” said Mary Beth Artz, one of the vigil organizers. The parkgoers have also started a Facebook page, called “For the Love of the Geese in Prospect Park.”

Vigil for the gassed geese, Saturday, July 17 at the gazebo on Prospect Park lake (near the entrance at Prospect Park Southwest and Vanderbilt Street in Prospect Park) at 6:30 pm. Check the “For the Love of the Geese in Prospect Park” Facebook page for info.

More from Around New York