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Exclusive video: Park workers try a new approach to goose control

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Join our heroic, hip-wader–wearing editor as he journeys into the lake in Prospect Park to seek a humane solution to the goose “problem.” Warning: This video features intense waterfowl anger, so parents are requested to watch this film with their children.

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Reader Feedback

MB from Brooklyn says:
Question-
Did they check the stage of the eggs by seeing if they would float in water before oiling them?
April 29, 2011, 10:08 am
PattyA from Manhattan says:
This video is troubling on many fronts.

First of all, there was only one nest found.

This, after the entire native population of geese were killed last summer and there are less than two dozen geese at PP now.

"Management to extinction" is not something to be supported by anyone who cares even remotely about wildlife, of which Canada geese are a part.

Also, as MB points out, eggs are supposed to be dropped in water to determine if they are viable. If viable, they are not to be oiled.

That was neither shown in the video, nor even MENTIONED.

I am normally a big supporter of the Brooklyn Paper and still thank you for covering this issue so skillfully and in depth.

However, the flip nature of this video is deeply disturbing, as well as its implications to the geese who are already so persecuted and decimated.

For shame on this.

"We have met the enemy and it is us."

Please extend my apologies for the human race to these two geese.

Thank you.
April 29, 2011, 12:13 pm
PattyA from Manhattan says:
Actions should match the situations they are put into place to address.

One could have made a case for egg addling last year at Propect Park when there was a fairly large population of resident geese.

However, ALL of those geese were killed ALONG with their 40 goslings.

Now, after completely decimating the population of resident geese, officials go out to DESTROY the eggs of the only two geese surviving and trying to compensate for the murderous predation on their species?

That is NOT action to address situation.

It is driving to extinction or "kicking when the victim is already down."

We are literally ripping the feathers out of these birds, one by one and no one seems to notice or care.

Very troubling statement, not about the geese, but about US!
April 29, 2011, 1:26 pm
PattyA from Manhattan says:
Here is the real choice:

"Either you let us harass, (i.e. chase the geese away with Border Collies) and destroy their eggs OR we will come back, round up and gas every goose here."

What kind of "choice" is that?

Either way, the geese lose.

Sure, one could argue that one method of "getting rid of the geese" is more "humane" than the other, but then what is the quality of life for the surviving geese?

To be harassed, shot, gassed and persecuted everywhere they go?

To have their offspring totally destroyed while they continue to sit on eggs that will never hatch?

One has to wonder which geese are worse off?

The ones already massacred and lying in a landfill -- or the ones still "living?"
April 29, 2011, 7:14 pm
Tony from Windsor Terrace says:
This is awful. Some days I do not see any geese in the lake. Sometimes I may see up to four geese. Is more than four geese a target to be gassed? If this keeps up there will be zero geese in the lake.
April 29, 2011, 10:23 pm
Elizabeth Conaughey from Park Slope says:
Couldn't they have left at least one egg un-addled?
Not liking this at all after seeing this. It is incredibly distressing to watch these devoted mates fend off the human intruders.

I was not against the oiling when it was first announced, because I did not want to hear about another gassing. However, after seeing this incredible disruption and destruction of nature, I am no longer a fan of this.

Habitat modification and teaching visitors to not feed the waterfowl should e the way to go.

So sad. Truly sad. Makes me not want to visit this park ever again. It is still the Killing Fields to me, but in a different way now.
April 30, 2011, 6:27 am
Drew from Sunset Park says:
ALL of you need to relax. These precious little animals you so dearly love are invasive species. What is being done is a necessity.

Quoted from the DEC:

"In urban and suburban areas throughout New York State, expanses of short grass, abundant lakes and ponds, lack of natural predators, limited hunting, and supplemental feeding have created an explosion in resident goose numbers. While most people find a few geese acceptable, problems develop as local flocks grow. Problems include over-grazed lawns, accumulations of droppings and feathers on play areas and walkways, nutrient loading to ponds, public health concerns at beaches and drinking water supplies, aggressive behavior by nesting birds, and safety hazards near roads and airports. Based on the growing frequency and severity of complaints about geese, DEC biologists have concluded that a more acceptable number of resident geese in New York was at or below 85,000 birds - far fewer than the 2010 population estimate of more than 250,000 birds."

I understand that you have compassion for these birds, but it is out of hand and something needs to be done.

Nature is not some fuzzy, warm, compassionate mother. These water fowl lack a natural predator in these parts so control IS necessary. Can you not see the bigger picture? Would you also object if their natural predator were present and the public were privy to witness the violence of nature? I'm sure some of you would be out there trying to protect them from that which is natural.

Unfortunately, such a predator is not present. An attempt to create some sort of balance is the only answer and this seems to be the best option thus far. If you have better ideas voice them and let them be heard. Understand that a significant reduction in population numbers is mandatory. If you can not see this, you should try to before you comment.
April 30, 2011, 9:45 am
PattyA from Manhattan says:
Yes, you are right about nature not being "some fuzzy, warm compassionate mother."

Hundreds of tornadoes over the past few days and the destruction they leave in their wake tell us that.

In fact, just a few days ago, a gentleman from Central Park Conservancy told me, "You have to realize that many goose eggs don't survive. Nature can be cruel."

Yes, indeed, nature can be cruel. But not HALF as cruel or devastating as humans when we put our mind to it.

Between the challenges of nature and the destruction of humans, the bottom line is that geese don't have a chance to really survive over the next decade.

Egg destruction is occurring all over, as well as expanded hunting, cullings, harassment and the brutalities of tornadoes, wildfires, tsunamis, oil spills, blizzards, hurricanes, etc, etc.

I ask you one question, Drew:

After the current generation of geese pass (whether due to the cruelties of man or nature), what geese will remain to carry on the species?

Animals can compensate for the predations of man or nature.

But, not if they are unable to procreate.
April 30, 2011, 10:42 am
PattyA from Manhattan says:
One more thing, Drew:

Please stop spreading the LIE that the geese are "an invasive species."

They are not.

They are native to North America. We are part of North America, just in case you are not aware.

If you are simply going by the name, "Canada" geese, they are not named for the country, but after a man. That's why it is always wrong to refer to the geese as "Canadian." They are not a nationality.

In fact, one could easily argue that the "resident" geese still managing to survive in the US are AMERICAN geese because the fact is, they are descendents of geese who were deliberately and captively bred and released in this country.

The native geese, nor their ancestors have ever been out of this country and are in fact, as "American" as apple pie and hoola hoops. ;)
April 30, 2011, 11:53 am
Drew from S.P. says:
You are right; they are technically not invasive in the true sense of the word. However, these birds that were once migratory are now year-round residents. Regardless, control is necessary and when it comes down to it, the needs of the population as a whole (the human population that is) come before that of a ridiculously over-sized flock of once seasonal, now permanent residents. Nature can not ensure balance in this situation, so its best for modest measures to be taken.

Here is a good link to check out. IMO the corn oil idea is probably the best (i.e. most human) means of controlling the population. And trust me, the people working in that video have nothing but the very best of intentions. Not only to they care as much (or more) than just about anyone out there, they are also more educated and a better educated that most as well. They truly are students of nature.

It's a lot better than the old man I caught on South Lake Drive last year trying to catch a goose and club him over the head with a stick; he did look hungry... and drunk.

Anyhow, you make some good points. Voice your opinions if you have any good ideas. I'm not sure you'll get much of an audience here though.

Peace
April 30, 2011, 2:52 pm
Drew from S.P. says:
oh the link...

http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7003.html
April 30, 2011, 2:53 pm
Drew from S.P. says:
(sorry for the typos... on my phone)
April 30, 2011, 2:54 pm
Drew from S.P. says:
One more thing... I don't think they are trying to completely eradicate the geese population. There will be plenty to continue the propagation of their species.
April 30, 2011, 2:55 pm
Bigby from Windsor Terrace says:
@Patty A - Please keeep voicing your opinions. There is most certainly an audience for them here, and you can't effect change by standing quietly by and allowing injustices to occur. History has shown us what horrific travesties can occur when people don't speak out. The only invasive species are the humans who feel the need to eradicate every other form of life on this earth. There is simply no reason to be killing these birds or addling their eggs. One of the best things about that park is the birds. On a beautiful day like today, parents, children, grandparents, and people from all walks of life gather and find a unifying thread as they admire these gorgeous and intelligent creatures. Shame on the ignorant people who don't realize that these birds must be preserved. That is the very reason so many of our animal species have become endangered. Ah, the ignorace of man.
April 30, 2011, 5:11 pm
Kathy from Parkside-Brooklyn says:
Does anyone know how many geese are actually there now? Can't be many.

I see more fisherman than geese, which means we will see more fishing line getting caught on what little wildlife is left in the park.

Why do humans feel they have the right to CONTROL every last being on the planet????

Sorry Drew, I have to agree with PattyA and Bigby.
May 2, 2011, 9:43 am
Nancy from Bay Ridge says:
I think we need to open more abortion clinics for stupid humans who live into their 80's and 90s and who are the ones destroying the planet and leave the poor geese who have a shorter lifespan alone!
May 8, 2011, 7:33 am
Jason from Lefferts says:
I agree with Nancy!
When the heck did all this nonsense start?

Leave the geese alone.
May 9, 2011, 8:46 am
davidk from ditmas park says:
Thank you Patty. the geese are not a problem, and should be left alone. but if they are going to oil the eggs, it should be done properly, and this is not the kind of "humane" treatment or exposure of the issue I would have in mind. if the eggs hatch, will they let the geese live? are the numbers now acceptable??

The DEC link basically explained that the geese are percieved as an inconvenience to people based on our own landscape designs, then we should hire goons to KILL them, which is what the USDA is GOING TO DO, to a number that we decide is a number that will minimize complaints from a recreational public. Thank you Drew for providing this, if this is what we are going off then i dont have to wonder whether speaking out is appropriate.
May 11, 2011, 12:55 am
t-rex from windsor terrace says:
We could always round up a few and cook 'em up! Foie Gras!!! Mmm....

All joking aside, over the last few years there have been too many darn geese in the park. Their green poop is everywhere (South side of the park at least) and at points it has been simply gross, i.e. cannot walk anywhere along the lake on the southside without smearing one's shoes in green turds. This could eventually raise bacteria levels in the lake and possibly present health problems to the youngsters who play along the water.

Good link:

http://www.humanewildlifecontrol.com/issues_geese.htm

Something has to be done! Do any of you have any ideas of how to rectify the situation? Or can you only cry foul? Inaction is not an option.

It IS man's job to control the situation in an urban setting. Regardless of the "wild life" you see in the park or how natural it feels, it IS still an URBAN setting. That being so, it is necessary for intervention on so many levels for the illusion of the park being a natural setting to continue. And the feeling that the park is a natural setting IS an illusion, and it succeeds quite well in keeping this illusion alive (many comments above illustrate this).

The park is not some wild-life preserve, rather it is a man-made environment designed to provide a refuge from the hustle and bustle of city life for PEOPLE. Of course, the beauty of that which is nature is what makes the park so great, but it is far from some wild-setting where nature is left to take its course without the hand of man playing its role. Simply put, it is a controlled environment and if it weren't the park would fail in its purpose. The park does a great job in creating that feeling that you are immersed in nature, but this is a controlled environment.

In order to keep the illusion alive, constant intervention is necessary. I can remember park goers whining when some large Norway maples (a terribly annoying invansive species) were being dropped in the Lookout Hill area. Those who voiced negative opinions could not see why the removals were necessary. All they saw were trees being sawed and could not understand how any healthy tree should be dropped. They lacked understanding of the bigger picture. Same goes here.

Without intervention the geese populations will become overwhelming resulting in destroyed turf, high (and possibly disease causing) bacteria levels, traffic safety issues possibly causing harm for drivers and bikers, and the possibility of safety issues due to the species' aggression during certain times of the year.

Having read all of the above comments, I see a lot of whistle blowing and talks of how man is Oh-so-bad, yet not one of you have presented an alternative solution.

So, what do you got besides "let it be?" If you understand the dynamics of urban ecology along with the necessities of maintaining the illusion of nature in such an urban setting you will know that inaction is not an option.
May 11, 2011, 3:25 pm
t-rex from windsor terrace says:
http://www.aphis.usda.gov/ws/researchreports/report06.pdf
May 11, 2011, 3:27 pm
Bob from Greenpoint says:
Gersh.. get a real job will ya?
May 13, 2011, 11:01 am
Pat Starr from ditmas park says:
I don't know about you guys, but if I see a goose in my garage the first call I make is to pest control.
Sept. 27, 2012, 3:05 pm
Pat Starr from ditmas park says:
Like this one. http://www.cranbrookpestcontrol.com
Sept. 27, 2012, 3:06 pm

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