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On patrol! Group starts a 24/7 ‘goosewatch’ in Prospect Park

The Brooklyn Paper
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Meet the goose patrol.

A group of watchdogs has launched “a 24/7 goose watch” in Prospect Park to prevent federal officials from once again slaughtering their feathered friends.

The group — which consists of about 40 wildlife advocates, business leaders and residents — says it will plant night-vision cameras and set up “stakeouts” in the park until the killing season ends in July.

At least a dozen “core members” — ranging from 17 to 70 years old — met at an undisclosed Park Slope business for the first time late on Monday night, hoping to send the feds a message: We’ve got an eye on you.

“If they come back [for the geese], it should be documented,” said Edita Birnkrant, an organizer and a director for the wildlife advocacy group Friends of Animals. “It’s an outrage; and people should see it.”

Appropriately titled “Goose Watch,” the group’s meetings are the first organized effort by citizens to monitor the behavior of the agency that secretly exterminated hundreds of geese in the park last July.

Plans for the military-style operation come after six geese hatched in the park last week — the first since last year’s massacre, and a triumph of nature against the efforts of biologists who tried to prevent their births in a humane attempt to keep the goose population from attracting federal attention.

“It’s heart-wrenching to think they might target those goslings,” said David Karopkin, a 26-year-old paralegal by day and goose-saver by night, who organized the group. “We’re committed to protecting them — and all of the wildlife in the park.”

A network of volunteers, many of whom are also 20-somethings, will be assigned rotating days of the month and will pair-off to monitor the park, even at night.

If volunteers spot suspicious behavior — including federal vehicles — they intend to alert Goose Watch leaders, who are prepared to storm the park in protest. (And text a certain Brooklyn Paper reporter, who lives nearby.)

Binoculars will be used, cameras will be carried; video footage will be taken from secret outdoor locations along the park’s perimeter, channeling the dolphin slaughter expose, “The Cove.”

Goose Watchers were mum about some details of the still-in-the-works undertaking, but noted it would be conducted legally.

Other members hope to pressure the city to end its goose extermination contract with the feds, which expires on June 30.

“The mayor has declared a war on wildlife,” Birnkrant said. “We intend to reverse that.”

A spokeswoman for the Department of Agriculture did not return calls before our squawking deadline.

Updated 1:59 pm, May 19, 2011
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Reasonable discourse

Or from Yellow Hook says:
The ignorant with technology.
May 19, 2011, 6:26 am
Christine from Kensington says:
On it! I've got my binoculars ready!

HONK!
May 19, 2011, 6:41 am
al pankin from downtown says:
don't these folks have anything better to do a night?
the sooner the feds round up these geese the better it will be...maybe they want to see another airline go down with a couple of hundred people on board.

why don't they make a usefull patrol and get rid of the BBQ'S and filth and garbage in the park left over by the folks who trash the park..and while they are at it, they should try to get the broken down fence repaired on the flatbush ave side of the park..
do something usefull.....
May 19, 2011, 7:31 am
David K from Ditmas Park says:
If you are interested in taking a shift, please email protectourgeese at gmail dot com.
May 19, 2011, 7:41 am
George Brown from Park Slope says:
Kudos to this courageous and compassionate group of individuals for taking action to protect the geese. The geese who were slaughtered last year were resident, not migratory geese, and posed NO threat to planes. Think about it - if geese were a significant threat to planes, with all the geese and other birds in the sky, planes would be going down on a daily basis. And to the ignorant person who said they should clean up the park, why don't you tell that to the Parks Dept who would rather ticket a dogwalker for having his dog offleash one minute after 9AM than the picnickers and fishermen who leave their trash, fishing line, and fishing hooks all over the park.
May 19, 2011, 7:59 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
“The geese who were slaughtered last year were resident, not migratory geese,"

Precisely why they are an invasive species.

These geese are the Kudzu of the bird world, but the ignorant self-appointed self-important do-gooders will guard them at the expense of the native waterfowl, and congratulate themselves on a job well done.

Not unlike the ignorant who champion the illegal alien who takes the job of the American born African American.
May 19, 2011, 8:28 am
hunter from prospect park says:
Leave the geese alone. They really help me cut down on my food bills. They go with any type of wine too!
May 19, 2011, 8:36 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Hunter;

Trade you some PPark Pate for some goose down.
May 19, 2011, 9 am
hunter from prospect park says:
Talk to me in October, I'll need it then.
May 19, 2011, 9:03 am
Native plant and animal advocate from Brooklyn Heights says:
Many Canada Geese no longer migrate to Canada in the summer as they always have. Instead, because of human induced changes to the local environment (more lawns), they stay in the area year-round.

Canada Geese are aggressively territorial, produce copious amounts of waste and decimate native vegetation such as Spartina Alterniflora. These above behaviors lead to habitat degradation and create an environment unsuited to other, rarer species of birds such as herons.

Although I believe the pro goose guard people are well-intentioned, helping Canada Geese in Prospect Park in fact leads to environmental degradation. Just because an animal is cute when it is a baby doesn't mean that it is a positive influence.

I respectfully suggest that this groups effort would be better focused on removing trash and invasive plants from Prospect Park and other locations or volunteering with any number of worthwhile causes in NYC.
May 19, 2011, 9:05 am
PattyA from Manhattan says:
@ Al Pankin: What are YOU doing to get rid of the BBQs and trash left at PP?

The geese didn't thrown TV's in the lake or leave crack viles in the grass.

Don't you think its a bit odd that officials would waste $100,000 in tax money to gas geese and ignore the real destruction taking place in the park?

Kudos to the people forming the "Goose Watch!"

Its time to send a message that we are not going to sit back and tolerate mass slaughters of our wildlife, while trashing city parks and turning a blind eye to all of it.
May 19, 2011, 9:13 am
J from BK says:
Watch out for manbearpig!
May 19, 2011, 9:16 am
PattyA from Manhattan says:
@ Native Plant......: You call yourself an "animal advocate" and then go on to denigrate and blame the geese for the fact that PP is like some big trash dump.

Wow, with "friends" like you, the geese and other animals don't need enemies.

The "environmental degradation" that you complain about didn't happen from the geese. As waterfowl, they are natural to grass and watercourses. But, BBQ runoffs, plastic bottles, bags, crack viles, condoms and chicken bones littering the grass and lake are NOT.

Instead of getting your "information" from goose harassment websites or the USDA, why don't you actually spend some time in PP and observe where the real "degradation" is coming from?

Its quite clear that you have not spent any time around geese. You don't know a damn thing about these extraordinary animals.

Perhaps, while you are at the lake, you can help fish the TV out of it?

Hint, hint: The geese didn't put it there.
May 19, 2011, 9:27 am
Native Plant and Animal Advocate from Brooklyn Heights says:
@ Patty A: I will treat the friends of the Geese with respect and do not appreciate your comment that I "don't know a damn thing about these extraordinary animals". It does not serve to bolster your opinions.

I have spent a significant amount of time around Canada Geese and other native birds. I work in the environmental field and have conducted studies to scientifically prove that the Spartina Alterniflora mortality is due to Canada Geese herbivory in specific areas. These studies were conducted according to accepted scientific methods and several qualified experts were involved in these studies. Elevation surveying and water quality testing was conducted at the same time as the studies. I respectfully dispute your assertion that I am not qualified to state the opinions I have above.

Below are two links to peer reviewed journal articles that outline the effects of herbivory on native grasses. I am happy to provide you and others with information on this important topic. Wikipedia also has some decent information on Canada Geese that may be helpful.

http://www.jstor.org/pss/3072118

http://www.jstor.org/pss/1936673

You are correct that there are many other factors leading to environmental degradation that need to be addressed.

I would be happy to meet you this upcoming Saturday morning to clean up the area around the lake and remove the TV you mention. Can we please arrange a time to clean the area? In the interim, can you please provide me with some credible information to support your assertion that Canada Geese are extraordinary animals?

Be well and happy!
May 19, 2011, 10:06 am
hunter from prospect park says:
I saw the guy who threw the TV into the lake, he had a Mets hat on and was muttering something about Wilpon and Wright that I could not understand.
May 19, 2011, 10:09 am
PattyA from Manhattan says:
@ Hunter

The TV is still in the lake? -- A month after being exposed on WPIX news?

PP is apparently too busy harassing the geese.
May 19, 2011, 10:50 am
pecos from Parker says:
I see what Or thinks about black folks. We have kkk member? Welcome to our hood.
May 19, 2011, 10:51 am
pecos from Parker says:
Wikipedia? oh that's a reliable source of information. Did you not know that anyone can write their theory in Wikipedia? I have written some purposefully silly stuff in said reliable source myself.

What are your qualifying credentials Native, since you brought them up?
May 19, 2011, 11:02 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Yes, Or thinks that Black folks are short changed by racists who would rather hire an illegal alien than a black man.

The same racists who want cheap labor from illegals who are the new slaves.
May 19, 2011, 11:02 am
PattyA from Manhattan says:
@ Native..... Throwing a bunch of links on here does not dilute the folly of your prior denigration of the geese which smacked mostly of ignorance.

I don't live in Brooklyn so will not be coming this Saturday to help you fish the TV out of the lake. (I live near Central Park and have spent years observing the geese and other waterfowl there.)

However, it is suggested that you actually spend some time observing the geese -- especially the new family.

Watch how the gander steadfastly guards his mate and goslings, barely taking time to eat or sleep.

Even at night, the gander is on constant vigil over his family. Later in the early summer, you might see mallard mamas bringing their ducklings close to the goose family at night for a sense of safety and protection.

Geese are among the most devoted, committed, organized, cooperative, loyal, intelligent, adaptable and aware animals on the planet.

You know many humans with the devotion and steadfastness of Canada geese?

Perhaps the Governor of California?
May 19, 2011, 11:18 am
pecos from Parker says:
Or does not realize that he is a resist? Poor Or.
May 19, 2011, 11:18 am
PattyA from Manhattan says:
@ Native.....

As long as we are throwing links here, I write a blog about geese and other waterfowl:

http://talesamptailsofnewyork.blogspot.com/

This explains how the geese are extraordinary and magnificent animals who are more to be emmulated than condemned.
May 19, 2011, 11:25 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
This explains how the geese are extraordinary and magnificent animals who are more to be emmulated than condemned.

PattyA is having a "feeeeelings" moment.

Feeeeeelings trump facts AND science.

And I won't take your bait pecos.
May 19, 2011, 12:14 pm
Jamie from Flatbush says:
Do I read correctly that they are proposing to put night vision cameras on public property? On whose authority? Or be in the park after 1 a.m. when it's closed? I'm sure the parks police will be happy to write them summonses for this offense.
May 19, 2011, 12:29 pm
annie from prospect park southwest says:
jamie, i believe you did read wrong. "video footage will be taken from secret outdoor locations along the park’s perimeter." private property, and outside the park only when it is closed.

in any case, if the park's priority is to ticket goosewatchers, seems to confirm misplacement of effort. as others have mentioned there is a serious garbage problem.
May 19, 2011, 12:54 pm
PattyA from Manhattan says:
@ Or:

Those without "feeeeeelings" are either robots or sociopaths.

Which are you?
May 19, 2011, 12:55 pm
Jamie from Flatbush says:
"plant night-vision cameras and set up “stakeouts” in the park"

This is what I was referring to. And I'm all for ticketing people who break any park rules. They could certainly use the revenue. But they should start with the people who bring bagfuls of bread to the park every day to encourage these formerly migratory birds to become their domesticated pets.
May 19, 2011, 1:01 pm
tyler a. chase from park slope says:
Excuse me but we are watched by the "CIVIL SERVANTS" the police with cameras and there is plenty of unwarranted surveillance... so if we want to record on OUR PUBLIC LAND in order to protect the geese since some "CIVIL SERVANTS" (emphasis because they are our vendors, working for us supposedly) sneak around gassing our birds when they think we aren't watching... then that is where its at. No one can stop anyone from doing video or taking pictures. We are not in communist Russia here. In fact isn't that kind of transparency what we pretend we have in this country, transparency of the press of what is going on. Give me a break with that Jamie.
May 19, 2011, 1:08 pm
David K from Ditmas Park says:
We intend to follow the letter of the law.
May 19, 2011, 1:18 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Goose Watch sounds like a bunch of vigilantes.
May 19, 2011, 1:31 pm
Johanna Clearfield from Park Slope says:
Yellow Hook -- you still out there? Not everyone hates wildlife. Not everyone is only interested in cooking & eating geese. Why, we even have a fully up and running rescue and rehabcenter -- The Wild Bird fund -- http://wildbirdfund.com/index.html
run by such vigilantes as NY state licensed rehabilitators and volunteers such as myself. Why, we do-goodnicks putting our own self interest aside for a higher good. An earth that will not be a trashpile of toxic waste, barren of animals (other than those found behind bars or on plates) I mean, my goodness. What is wrong with all of us?
May 19, 2011, 2:09 pm
Johanna Clearfield from Park Slope says:
http://parkslope.patch.com/blog_posts/first-they-came-for-the-eggs
Thank you Natalie -- for an amazing story and bringing us a true report from the field - our community is full of people who appear to be equal and opposite to our friend, Mr. Hook
May 19, 2011, 2:09 pm
Native Plant and Animal Advocate from Brooklyn Heights says:
Can anyone please provide me with information from a reputable source to support the idea that having resident Canada Geese in Prospect Park is beneficial for plants and animals?
The blog link provided by Patty A. contains well-written, anthropomorphic prose that is heartwarming, but it is less than scientific.
Pecos, it does not bolster my credibility but I unwilling to post my credentials on a blog. Also, you are correct that Wikipedia is not a reliable source; please refer to the two below links.
If anyone is interested in reading scientific, peer reviewed journal articles regarding the deleterious effects of Geese on natural ecosystems, please take a look at the following two below links.

http://www.jstor.org/pss/3072118

http://www.jstor.org/pss/1936673

Anyone interested in helping me pick up contaminating Canada Goose feces and other garbage from around the lake of Prospect Park on Saturday morning? My offer stands, please let me know and we can discuss how to facilitate a clean-up and a respectful exchange of ideas/facts.

P.S. @ Patty A., Travel between Manhattan and Brooklyn is possible as the subways run from Manhattan to Prospect Park and there are several other methods of travel available. It would be possible for you to come help me on Saturday if you felt strongly enough about the unacceptably dirty state of Prospect Park and are free. I encourage you to join me.
May 19, 2011, 3:38 pm
K. from ArKady says:
Hey Native,

Brother, this issue has nothing to do with native/invasive species, and everything to do with how the air traffic to runway 4 at laguardia is handled. You seem no stranger to research; why don't you google around a bit on those terms and do the job the reporters here don't. I guarantee, if you persist, your eyes will be opened.

I rather prefer the sound of honking geese to 747's flying so close to the park you can see the rivets on the chassis, but perhaps you feel otherwise? Coz that's what you'll get if the position you argue wins the day.
May 19, 2011, 4:08 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
K:

No 747's at LaGuardia - runway too short.

PattyA:

Feelings without science or facts are self delusional.
Feelings with science and facts = genuine achievement not robotics.
May 19, 2011, 4:19 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
K:

No 747's at LaGuardia - runway too short.

PattyA:

Feelings without science or facts are self delusional.
Feelings with science and facts = genuine achievement not robotics.
May 19, 2011, 4:19 pm
Arlene A. from Bergen Cty., NJ says:
We went through the same slaughter in our county park last year. Upon research, we discovered that the USDA is taking the lead from an organization called the Atlantic Flyway Council, which is just a front for hunting organizations. (You can download hunting brochures from their website.) When we first confronted the USDA (they were here first, sadly), they at first told us the usual claptrap about the geese "carrying disease", "being dirty", etc. Then it seems that someone got the great idea to tie in the geese slaughter with the Sully Sullenberger glide-in of the plane onto the Hudson River, and then began using that as an excuse - which is rubbish. The only geese who fly that high are the migratories, not the locals who basically hang out in the parks and do some low-flying from rivers to parks. So besides performing inhumane and illegal acts, the USDA is also lying. (Typical, but felt you guys out in Brooklyn should be aware of it, also.)
Keep up the good work, and the great reporting your paper does.
May 19, 2011, 4:36 pm
Mary from Brooklyn says:
@jamie- They are not "formerly migratory birds"
Resident geese are not geese who become lazy and decide to stay in an area. Migration is a flock learned behavior- Resident geese do not migrate.

Resident geese became resident geese thanks to the US government when they began stocking found, random flocks in areas to appease hunters after they were almost extinct.
May 19, 2011, 10:17 pm
PattyA from Manhattan says:
@ Native....You apparently don't have much respect for either nature or God.

Waterfowl being "contaminating" to water and grass.

Imagine that?

When do you plan to declare a war on nature and God?

Ah, nevermind as its already been done.

Its called, "Wildlife (extermination) Services."
May 20, 2011, 2:43 am
PattyA from Manhattan says:
@ Native.......

Have you considered getting together with Yellowhook this Saturday?

You both seem to dismiss the value and significance of "feeeeeeelings." That could be quite an interesting romance.

On the other hand, you and I appear sadly to have little in common.

I believe it more important to fish the TV out of the lake at Prospect Park, clean up the BBQ runoffs, plastic bottles and chicken bones than to worry about the goose droppings that will, in a few months produce lush, green grass.

Besides, I am way too "anthropormorphic" for you to enjoy being around.

I am guilty of "feeeeelings."
May 20, 2011, 2:50 am
PattyA from Manhattan says:
Posted for MARION AMBLER:

@ Native “can you please provide me with some credible information to support your assertion that Canada Geese are extraordinary animals?”

The Canada goose has a character and loyalty to mate and family that is unrivaled by any species including humans. If all humans had the loyalty and faithfulness of the Canada goose it would be a very different and better world.

The loyalty in Canada goose families is unusually strong. “Sagacity, wariness, strength, and fidelity,” commented one waterfowl expert (F. H. Kortright), “are characteristics of the Canada goose, which, collectively, ARE POSSESSED IN THE SAME DEGREE BY NO OTHER BIRD. The Canada [goose] in many respects may serve as a model for man.”
May 20, 2011, 2:56 am
PattyA from Manhattan says:
Also posted for MARION AMBLER @ Native:

The famous theologian and writer Soren Kierkegaard once used the life of a goose as an illustration for a lesson he was trying to instill in his readers. He knew what a good example animals can sometimes be to people. The Canada Goose is a role model for human beings in many ways. It remains committed to one partner. Males and females take child rearing seriously and share the responsibilities involved. A close family life is crucial to survival. Frequent communication is essential.

The next time you spot a pair of Canada Geese take time for a second look and a little personal reflection. What they have to teach us is hardly "for the birds."

http://ezinearticles.com/?Canada-Geese-Have-Model-Marriages&id=3070942

Folklore is filled with references to the faithfulness of Canada geese, and STUDIES of individually marked birds HAVE VERIFIED THESE ASTONISH LOYALITES.
http://www.calwaterfowl.org/web2/programs/geese/goosebehavior.htm.
May 20, 2011, 3 am
PattyA from Manhattan says:
Thanks to Marion Ambler for sharing this quote from Tolstoy (who apparently was guilty of "feeeeelings"):

'This is dreadful. Not the suffering and death of the animals, BUT THAT A MAN SUPPRESSES IN HIMSELF, unnecessarily, THE HIGHEST SPIRITUAL CAPACITY -- that of sympathy and pity towards living creatures like himself -- and by violating his own feelings becomes cruel. And how deeply seated in the human heart is the injunction not to take life!”......LEO TOLSTOY
May 20, 2011, 3:19 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Leo Tolstoy the well known biologist and ornithologist?
May 20, 2011, 11:40 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Leo Tolstoy the well known biologist and ornithologist?
May 20, 2011, 11:40 am
hunter from prospect park says:
Those plants you are eating have feelings too.
May 20, 2011, 12:01 pm
Dr.Wayne Johnson from Brooklyn Heights says:
These dedicated men,women and children are simply trying to stop the Mayor and the hired gun Feds from murdering more geese. They deserve our support and commendation
May 20, 2011, 10:42 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Dr Johnson agrees that they are vigilantes.
May 21, 2011, 7:01 am
Jessica R from Brooklyn says:
Good going!

Let's hope this never occurs in our park again.
I am still affected by the events of last year, walking through the park and thinking they are nothing but killing fields.

I don't see many geese in the park- and come to think of it I don't see many birds by the lake.

Very sad.
May 23, 2011, 11:10 am
Johanna from Park Slope says:
It is incredible that Mr. Yellow Hook and Mr. Hunter (or Ms. Yellow Hook and Ms Hunter?) have nothing but selfish, self-centered and self-serving comments -- and one of the basics in psychology 101 is that narcissists cannot be reasoned with. They will keep repeating the same reel, over and over and over. They cannot be de-programmed. We live in a society that teaches us -- from a very early age -- "I, me, my." All of the true religions and spiritual societies teach the exact opposite. In many ways, caring for wildlife is a step toward spiritual awakening. Understanding that human beings are not the only inhabitant on the planet.
http://parkslope.patch.com/blog_posts/and-then-there-were-three-four-miracle-gosling-count-slips-to-three
May 23, 2011, 12:52 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
"It is incredible that Mr. Yellow Hook and Mr. Hunter (or Ms. Yellow Hook and Ms Hunter?) have nothing but selfish, self-centered and self-serving comments"

Really Johanna?

The Canada Geese exist at the expense of the black ducks and loons who have been displaced, and yes, their eggs destroyed by the aggressive species of geese.

But you can play psychologist almost as well as you play biologist and ornithologist.
May 23, 2011, 4:16 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
"It is incredible that Mr. Yellow Hook and Mr. Hunter (or Ms. Yellow Hook and Ms Hunter?) have nothing but selfish, self-centered and self-serving comments"

Really Johanna?

The Canada Geese exist at the expense of the black ducks and loons who have been displaced, and yes, their eggs destroyed by the aggressive species of geese.

But you can play psychologist almost as well as you play biologist and ornithologist.
May 23, 2011, 4:16 pm
Johanna from Park Slope says:
We know for a fact that species have constantly interacted and there is synergy - give and take - and changes constantly in nature. It is ridiculous to declare that we have (and should protect) only pure "native inhabitants" -- resonates with the "back to Africa" movement in the 1950s. There are no pure White humans, we all know this -- there is no pure race as we have co-mingled and inter-mingled for centuries. There is no true "native" anything as the continents have shifted over time, and migrations were "stranded" where they had crossed over. It is a moving, multi layered mixture of design by chance. We now have what we have. The point is. Humane management of what we Have now. Preservation, protection and direction.
May 23, 2011, 10:52 pm
Johanna from Park Slope says:
who are you people? God, I hope you are not my neighbors. I am creeped out by the misanthropy on these pages. No wonder I love animals. They are pure, noble, incapable of twisted logic, incapable of lying, incapable of hidden agendas. They need what they need and they have a design to create new life. They are the closest thing to what is pure being, pure "chi" - pure life -- without all the layers of psychological depravity as is spattered on these pages. I love all animals equally, with respect and reverence for them and their creator. I feel sorry for the haters.
May 23, 2011, 10:56 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Really Johanna ?

You seem to support Manifest Destiny and the White Goose' Burden.

I suppose a colony of feral cats would be at home in the park too,
May 24, 2011, 6:57 am
hunter from prospect park says:
I always share my meals with any feral cats I find in the park.
May 24, 2011, 11:33 am
EllieM from Manhattan says:
Cheers for Friends of Animals and Operation Goosewatch! Geese and other animals living in Prospect Park can adjust their own populations without any "help" from us. Respect them and their environment.

To Yellow Hook and others who disparage feelings, emotions are essential to moral judgement. And yes, that is scientific:

"Moral Judgment Fails Without Feelings"

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070321181940.htm
May 26, 2011, 11:29 am
DanM from UWS, Manhattan says:
At least three Birdstrike Avoidance Radar Systems are in use by the USAF, Royal Netherlands AF and by Detect Inc Merlin airport clients, and have reduced birdstrikes by 50-70% and eliminated flockstrikes.

Accordingly, the US Secretary of the Interior Department, the USDA, the NY/NJ Port of Authority, Mayor Bloomberg and the PA Vendor have no justification for the capture, sale and killing of NYC Geese, and are in violation of the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act (16 U.S.C. 703-712).
June 30, 2011, 12:09 pm

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