Like a fowl Phoenix rising from the ashes of its fallen brethren, at least 37 geese have been spotted swimming on Prospect Park lake — less than a month after the federal government massacred 290 of the popular water birds in a nocturnal operation that shocked the borough.
Now, park-goers are already feeding the newcomers scraps of food, setting the stage for another population boom next mating season.
In fact, if the goose population continues to grow at this pace, their numbers will return to pre-slaughter levels within mere months.
Critics of the federally mandated massacre say that the arrival of the newcomers only proves that the chosen removal method — mass extermination — is not effective.
“The program kills geese, and then more will fly in — as they have in Prospect Park — and then they’ll have to kill more geese,” said Laura Simon, an official with the Humane Society, which advocates non-lethal methods of animal control and population management.
Another gossicide is not in the immediate future, according to Carol Bannerman, a spokeswoman with the federal agency that carried out the culling.
And an official with the state Department of Environmental Conservation suggested that more killing won’t be necessary because the goose population on the lake will not continue to rapidly grow.
“I would not predict this influx to continue steadily to the point that no appreciable reduction in numbers is evident,” said the official, Bryan Swift, who runs the state Game Bird unit.
“Keep in mind that geese are quite mobile, and most of the resident birds are completing their molt and beginning to fly or move around again. The birds that have just appeared may have been regular visitors of Prospect Park that happened to be somewhere else nearby when they molted this year.”
If that is the case, the geese that are now in the park are some of the luckiest birds in the borough, as they narrowly avoided being swept up by the feds because they happened to molt elsewhere this year.
Officials continue to defend the massacre as necessary to protect human life aboard airplanes. Mayor Bloomberg has been particularly aggressive in his demand for more bird control, telling our reporter this week that he would only care about the flighted fowl if they were humans.