East River State Park Geese

Goose advocates try to stop exterminations with documentation

for The Brooklyn Paper
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David Karopkin and his crew are actually happy when they see goose poop in the morning in East River State Park — it’s a sign the football-shaped waterfowl have survived another day.

Karopkin and his group GooseWatch have changed strategy in their second year attempting to save geese from federal exterminators, going from interventionists intent on disrupting goose roundups to wildlife watchdogs with cameras hoping to sway public opinion and end the killings once and for all.

They claim the slaughters take place without proper transparency and say Brooklynites are shockingly unaware of the executions — which the US Department of Agriculture conducts to lessen the risk of collisions between birds and planes.

But chilling videos showing federal authorities capturing geese could change all that, according to the paralegal and GooseWatch founder.

“Hopefully by documenting it, we can make it a reality,” Karopkin said during a patrol at East River State Park last week. “I know [the roundups are] going to happen. It’s just a matter of when.”

The group’s new plan involves about 20 passionate bird-lovers who hope to act as high-tech Minutemen if they witness a roundup by sending text messages and audio recordings to 500 other goose advocates urging them to document the trapping.

The notification and documentation plan is more complex than last summer’s operations, when volunteers monitored geese in Prospect Park all day and all night in hopes their presence would convince the feds to keep away.

The goose killings began in 2010 with the slaughter of 368 Prospect Park waterfowl following the “Miracle on the Hudson” — a plane crash attributed to multiple bird strikes.

That year, federal authorities killed 67 Canada geese in East River State Park, documents show.

Bushwick resident Galcia Outes has claimed East River State Park as her responsibility for the summer, and now recognizes the four adults and five fuzzy goslings who make their home just off the beach.

But someday soon, she might have to take photos and video of the birds being rounded up for slaughter.

“This is the ugly part of what it looks like in your park in your city with your money,” said Outes, who believes it’s possible for geese and airplanes to coexist thanks to technological advances.

The city’s Department of Environmental Protection said it will make an announcement about this year’s roundup once it finalizes its plans. The roundups won’t begin until after that announcement is made, a spokesman said.

The US Department of Agriculture did not return calls for comment.

Updated 5:34 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

o3 from wburg says:
there's a hunting season for geese in all 50 states to control the pop in the absence of a natural predator. my gripe is the meat should be provided to homeless shelters.
June 21, 2012, 6:59 am
adamben from bedstuy says:
cook their goose!!!
June 21, 2012, 9:35 am
Lana from East river says:
o3 you're talking about geese in new York city parks. Would you eat new York city rat or squirrel or raccoon? No, of course not. You could get sick. Same for urban geese who eat manicured toxic grass and swim in disgusting waters. But no, youre rich enough you don't need to do that - thats just what homeless people are for. Foist it on them so you can feel better about yourself.
June 22, 2012, 5:11 am
Jim from Carroll Gardens says:
Surprisingly I've discovered there are natural checks on the geese in NYC. It's true there aren't any coyotes going after them but actually that's pretty rare in the wild geese are quite defensive against predators as an adult. But as I've observed this summer and in the past, only a percentage of the eggs laid hatch and only a fraction of those hatched this spring have survived. This seems to be the way geese are kept in check... Hunting actually encourages compensatory reproduction and that's why they have to keep doing it every year. I've seen some fascinating research on this subject.
June 22, 2012, 5:20 am
Charlotte from Park Slope says:
Ah hell, the damn USDA is coming back again?
All I can say is I had better not wake up to find they've killed the geese in Prospect Park again.

My kids were devastated and I would prefer to not have to go through that again.
June 22, 2012, 8:13 am
o3 from wburg says:
lana - its ez to test meat samples for contamination. and no, im not wealthy. but i do hunt & consume wild game including geese.

jim - wild game mgmt is integral absent predators since many examples prove wild pops will grow to consume all available food then starve & die-off to natural levels once again. ur egg & hatchling example is true is the wild as well.
June 22, 2012, 8:52 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Goose advocates!

How do you get a job like that?

Advocating for the kudzu of waterfowl!
June 22, 2012, 8:53 am
David from Ditmas Park says:
Find us at and Thanks Brooklyn Paper!
June 22, 2012, 10:26 am
Marion from Manhattan says:
o3 from wburg
There is also non lethal egg addling to control the population of urban Canada geese. Most people in urban areas do not want to see their urban wildlife exterminated by anyone. They are their connection to nature.

It is just pathetic the city's so called 'Dept of Environmental Protection' lacked the intelligence to implement a widespread egg addling program years ago. Did they not know geese had babies or what?? This is who protects the environment? What a sad joke.

And o3 from wburg, goslings don't have any meat on them and molting geese hardly any and they are considered sick birds which is why the First Nations people never killed molting birds.
June 22, 2012, 11:45 am
Marion from Manhattan says:
o3 from wburg

So tell us how 'ez' it is to test wild game for mercury, arsenic, pesticides, etc.

Birmingham food banks turn down geese- “For us not being able to guarantee how often people are going to eat it, then we probably should err on the side of safety and not distribute it," she said. The geese habitat at the city parks provided the biggest risks for the food bank, as they were unsure about what the geese had ingested, such as insecticides and pesticides, Kelley said.

“Wild Waterfowl - Mergansers are the most heavily contaminated waterfowl species and should NOT BE EATEN. EAT NO MORE THAN TWO MEALS PER MONTH of other wild waterfowl; you should skin them and remove all fat before cooking, and discard stuffing after cooking. Wood ducks and Canada geese are less contaminated than other wild waterfowl species and diving ducks are more contaminated than dabbler ducks. (Contaminants - PCBs, mirex, chlordane, DDT).

The geese and goslings killed by the USDA thugs last year were supposedly given to a food bank in PA - but nobody could get any information about what they were tested for or the extent of testing.

And from 575 geese they only got 425 lbs of meat - which is less than a chicken's breast worth of meat on average. It would seem to me with the costs associated with testing and slaughtering 575 wild geese to get only 425 lbs of meat makes this verrrry expensive meat. I'm quite sure given the cost the birds went to a landfill and hamburger or something substituted for the food bank. Goose is not even tasty and most people don't like it.
June 22, 2012, 11:55 am
Marion from Manhattan says:
What needs to happen is a public debate on these goose round ups in NYC...including the USDA, the city's Dept of Environment, and the goose supporters as well as airport wildlife managers from airports that do not do goose round ups.

My bet is the the goose killers would bow out....they know how bad they would look if all the facts and arguments were presented to the general public.

Read my lips as the proverbial saying goes....nobody has EVER died in a commercial crash related to a Canada goose. No Body. Not one. On the other hand, in crashes related to JFK Airport alone, 700 people have died since 1960. ... sane intelligent people are supposed to believe NYC"s resident geese are the big flying hazard. So the Dept of Environment and USDA are trying to tell us.
June 22, 2012, 12:14 pm
Jeff T from Lives near airport says:
People should really not worry about geese so much.
June 22, 2012, 1:10 pm
PattyA from Manhattan says:
What has the world come to when government agencies invade public parks in the wee hours of the morning to round up and exterminate wildlife?

Is there any coner of our globe where animals are safe from mayhem at the the hands of humans?

And is there any corner of our parks and homes that are free from government intervention and/or directives? Watch that 20 ounce bottle of soda in your fridge.
June 22, 2012, 1:16 pm
Annie from Prospect Park Southwest says:
Go GooseWatch!!! Ugh, someone needs to stop these corrupt government agents in their tracks. If they didn't have something to hide they would have let themselves be documented by news reporters, but no, they prefer to operate in the shadows.
June 22, 2012, 1:38 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
"Read my lips ....nobody has EVER died in a commercial crash related to a Canada goose. No Body. Not one."

No thanks to the geese. They tried, but a more skillful flyer bellyed the plane into the Hudson.

But somepeople want to give these vermin another shot at it.

NASA astronaut Theodore Freeman was killed when a goose shattered the plexiglass cockpit canopy of his Northrop T-38 Talon, resulting in shards being ingested by the engines, leading to a fatal crash.
June 22, 2012, 1:48 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
On September 22, 1995, a U.S. Air Force Boeing E-3 Sentry AWACS aircraft (Callsign Yukla 27, serial number 77-0354), crashed shortly after take off from Elmendorf AFB. The aircraft lost power in both port side engines after these engines ingested several Canada Geese during takeoff. It crashed about two miles (3 km) from the runway, killing all 24 crew members on board.
June 22, 2012, 1:50 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Jeez ... I just got an email from a friend, and it actually makes sense now why killing geese makes no sense!

Even the FAA and USDA admit they'll never get the chance of an accident down to zero. It's such a crap shoot, and takes the focus off truly needed improvements that will prevent the kind of catastrophe we are all scared of. I mean even if we had killed every goose in NYC we wouldn't have prevented the Miracle on the Hudson, those birds were actually migrating from Canada according to DNA testing, not the kind of resident geese the USDA is killling.

OK... you got me. You learn something every day!
June 22, 2012, 3:33 pm
Marion from Manhattan says:
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Hey good...I was just about when I read your last comment. That is could have killed every goose in the USA and not prevented Flight 1549 which ran into migrants from Labrador, Canada.

Another interesting fact is the engines of Flight 1549 did not meet the newest standards for engines from 2007. They met 1996 standards. "In 1996, the engines that would later be used on U.S. Airways Flight 1549 were certificated for bird ingestion according to these standards. In 2007, the FAA adopted new regulations regarding bird strikes, and the new rules increased the size of the birds used in the core tests to 5½ pounds. However, engines certificated prior to
2007 were NOT obliged to meet the new requirements."

In my comment I said no person had ever been killed in a COMMERCIAL flight. You cited the crash of the Air Force plane in Alaska..but what you left out is that air force base essentially had NO wildlife management and knew Canada geese WERE LIVING ON THE BASE. It ingested geese on take off...but they knew geese were living on the base. It's tragic of course..but geese were living on the base.

"A USAF AWACS aircraft similar to this was lost in 1995 and 24 airmen were killed when Canada geese
were struck just after rotation. The USAF was aware of geese living on the airbase, yet had taken no direct action to eliminate the birds (photo courtesy USAF)."
June 22, 2012, 4:15 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Nice try Marion, you were spouting misinformation when you said to read your lips, so of course I go with your new evaluation.

I'm sure that geese read the tail designations on the flights.

Geese are an invasive species.

Go make pets of them.
June 22, 2012, 7:36 pm
Old time Brooklyn from slope says:
The lives of humans trump the lives of annimals - annimals do not have rights * if someones kids are so bent out of shape why dosent super mommy mourn the roaches???
June 22, 2012, 8:27 pm
Mark from Kensington says:
Hey old time, maybe it's about time. Maybe you've been around long enough to remember a time when blacks or women didn't have rights. Guess what, you don't have the right to play god with animals and it's only a matter of time before folks like you catch up with the rest of us.
June 23, 2012, 5:09 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Football shaped? That gives me an idea!

Mark from Kensington is an example of the failure of the American education system.
June 23, 2012, 6:56 am
Mark from Kensington says:
Watch it Or you're sounding a lot like that high school bully who made the bus monitor cry, but we're not in high school anymore -- it's time to grow up buddy. Talk about a failed education system...
June 23, 2012, 7:20 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
I became concerned Mark, so I rechecked my Bill of Rights.

Nope. No animals. Good luck with the rest of your life, you just might find that your lunch is suing you for deprivation of rights.
June 23, 2012, 8:11 am
Mary from Manhattan says:
USDA contract killers can kill every goose in the city and the world and the skies would not be any safer. This is politically motivated nonsense and the way these contract killers do the slaughtering is extremely violent and cruel. Geese lifespan can be 25 years; however resident geese and their goslings in NYC will be murdered at a young age.

Meanwhile the genius politicians are pushing for a marine transfer station under a LaGuardia runway, a plan that Capt. "Sully" Sullenberger has decried as dangerous and unwise.

What is the real motivation? We know that these contract killings comprise the bulk of USDA revenue.

There will be serious karmic consequences.
June 23, 2012, 7:24 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
karmic consequences?

June 23, 2012, 7:47 pm

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