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April 13, 2011 / Brooklyn news / Park Slope / Meadows of Shame

Locked and loaded! City hires new goose killer

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Now the Department of Sanitation is getting into the goose massacre business.

Ten months after federal agents slaughtered close to 300 Canada geese in Prospect Park, the city agency moved ahead to hire a well-paid biologist to “manage” waterfowl near New York airports — and the $175,000-per-year bird brain is from the same agency that was responsible for last year’s goosicide.

Officially, the Sanitation Department has posted a notice of intent to hire to hire a biologist from the United States Department of Agriculture to track “wildlife hazards,” in order to prevent “bird strikes” near LaGuardia and JFK airports.

But park devotees fear the city is gearing up for yet another massacre.

“It’s grim news for wildlife,” said Mary Beth Artz, who recently organized a rally to demand the city to allow its bird control contract with feds to expires on June 30. “It’s discouragi­ng.”

The city was mum about the new biologist’s duties, but USDA staffers with the same title have trapped (in Cleveland, Ohio), tracked (in Juneau, Alaska) and killed birds with rifles (in Iraq) to keep fowl populations down near airports.

Matthew LiPani, a spokesman for the city, said a “panel of technical experts” — aviation officials among them — stressed the need for the new position in the wake of the so-called “Miracle on the Hudson” landing in January, 2009, which may have been caused after a collision between geese and Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger’s Airbus A320.

In the wake of that incident, the city exterminated waterfowl within a five-mile radius of both LaGuardia and JFK airports — a measure that was expanded last year to Prospect Park, more than seven miles from any runway, without public discussion, much to the horror of neighbors.

USDA spokeswoman Carol Bannerman declined to talk about the new job position, explaining the contract had not yet been signed.

But, in the past, she has said that when goose populations rise — there are now 193 geese Prospect Park — they must be controlled. “It isn’t the answer people want to hear, but when there are hundreds of birds, the risk [to airplanes] is higher,” she said.

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Reader Feedback

Steve Nitwitt from Sheepshead Bay says:
I hear Norm from Atlantic Yards Report is up for the job.
April 13, 2011, 2:04 am
Lotta from Bensonhurst says:
You can't seem to open this paper without seeing the same 2 stories repeated In 'new' articles - geese bicycle lane. Instead of dozens of articles with lots of conjecture and little information, couldn't you publish one, better researched piece?
April 13, 2011, 6:05 am
Ditmas Deb from Ditmas Park says:
I counted the geese last week. There are now fewer than 50.. I am a regular park visitor and write a blog about it. I hope the 'official" count is not as wrong and inaccurate as the Brooklyn paper's "facts.:
April 13, 2011, 8:58 am
OO from Wburg says:
geese are non-native invasive vermin that degrade public spaces w infected droppings & agressive behavior, deny habitat to native species, & have no natural predators to control pop growth. shhot them & feed the meat to homeless folks.
April 13, 2011, 10:06 am
PattyA from Manhattan says:
That "193" goose count at PP seems very inflated in light of other reports from parkgoers.

It is CRITICAL to have accurate counts of the geese as well as to demand from PP and the city, what an acceptable number for geese at PP consists of without the birds being rounded up and gassed, shot at or harassed.

Grossly misstating and inflating the numbers of geese in the park is to invite another massacre of them, plain and simple.

Wouldn't it be something for the city to waste a ton of tax money, shoot or gas the few geese in the park, while at the same time ignoring all the mechanical problems in planes, fatigued airline pilots and air traffic controllers and planes colliding with each other?

Where are the priorities, folks?

Its time to stop blaming the geese for all of our own self-created ills and its certainly time to get an accurate count of the geese actually naive enough to be hanging around PP.

What a travesty this all is. -- Like the cop pepper spraying a baby squirrel who most likely fell from a nest.

Pure lunacy, all of it.
April 13, 2011, 10:19 am
Mary Beth from WT says:
193 Geese is a highly exaggerated number.
Where is this number coming from?

There were more gulls than anything on the lake over the weekend.
April 13, 2011, 10:48 am
Betty Schwartz Dowling from Canarsie says:
I do to Prospect Park all the time. I also count less than fifty geese. these geese will be gone next fall they are more than 7 miles from the airport. and the don't fly 7 miles up. The geese near the airport may be a danger. Not in Prospect Park. Lets have the real reason the government wants them dead otherwise they should stand down. If we stand up We must do it together. Right letters to our congress men and state senators. Keep a watchful eye on any new action near the lake. People walk your dogs together near the peninsula. Network so that people can get to the lake area fast to keep a line between the geese and killers
April 13, 2011, 11:45 am
PattyA from Manhattan says:
While it is greatly appreciated that the Brooklyn Paper is informing us of another potential goose massacre, this does not substitude for proper community notice that the city and the park is OBLIGATED to do, if another culling is conducted.

The city and park is legally bound to do proper community notification as to specific dates and locations of things like pesticide spraying or wildlife cullings.

They failed to do that last summer and quite franky should have been sued for this remission.

They cannot legally sneak in under the cover of darkness to conduct massacres on wildlife again.

Enough is enough.
April 13, 2011, 12:29 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
I thought they gassed all the geese last year.

Where did these come from?

So gassing them wasn't the end of the world?
April 14, 2011, 8:57 am
Elizabeth from Brooklyn says:
Gassing was the end of THEIR world, Or.
April 14, 2011, 12:22 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Plenty more where they came from Lizzie!

Geese are the Kudzu of water fowl.

No fowl no harm!
April 14, 2011, 8:03 pm
Jim from Cobble Hill says:
Um good? Geese make places unsanitary and can destroy parks and other pubic spaces. What's next, getting all worked up over rat population control?
April 14, 2011, 9:10 pm
Catherine from NYC says:
This boils down to making ethical choices. Something, it seems, Bloomberg is incapable of doing.

Gassing geese, as the USDA continues to do is a most horrific death for these birds. Their physiology allows them to hold their breath longer than most mammals and other species- resulting in incredible sufffering.

There is alot more to this than meets the eye. Not only lack of ethics but I am betting there are plenty of illegalities attached to this as well.
April 15, 2011, 11:43 am
Judy from Carroll Gardens says:
If they kill the current geese more geese will fly in and take their place. This is just insane cruelty. Besides the geese keep the lake from being overgrown with vegetation.
April 15, 2011, 4:17 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
What a bunch of junk biology coming from the savethegeesenomatterwhatthefacts crowd.

Fiction for the foolish.
April 16, 2011, 10:43 am
Lilly from Windsor Terrace says:
Afflack!
April 17, 2011, 9:48 pm
Gideon from Windsor Terrace says:
I am beagle/bassett hound that loves to go to lake and observe the geese. Save the geese - Don't kill my friends!
April 18, 2011, 11:27 pm
Cathryn from WT says:
I know Gideon! He was at the rally! Go Gideon!

Don't kill his friends!!!!
April 19, 2011, 7:51 pm
Steve Nitwitt's conscience says:
Sorry about that. I like acting like a jerk, I guess.
July 16, 2011, 6:46 am

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