It sounded a little unusual when the USDA Wildlife Services came to Beacon to propose to the City Council to round up, kill, and serve as food at shelters between 50 and 63 geese from Pete and Toshi Seeger Riverfront Park - in the name of protecting flights at Stewart Airport. The City Council heard the proposal, mostly responded that they were not comfortable with it, and passed on the pitch, effectively a polite but firm, “No thank you.”
Today, the Larchmont Loop, an online newspaper covering Larchmont in Westchester, reported that Canada geese were systematically killed at Larchmont Gardens early Wednesday morning. “The Town of Mamaroneck confirms the USDA euthanized a number of Canada geese on and around the Duck Pond in Larchmont Gardens early Wednesday morning.” Larchmont is a village located within the Town of Mamaroneck in Westchester County, New York, approximately 18 miles northeast of Midtown Manhattan, according to Wikipedia.
In Larchmont, the USDA Wildlife Services came out in kayaks, rounded up the birds into a truck, drove them away, and processed them into food to serve at local food shelters. That method was the same proposal Beacon heard on Monday.
According to the article: “Private residents of the Larchmont Gardens neighborhood contracted with the USDA to remove the geese,” said a spokesperson for the Town. “It is a private contract, the Town just allowed them on Town property.”
Apparently Systematic Killing Of A Species In The Name Of Something Is A Thing
While the killing, otherwise known as “culling,” wasn’t something the City Council normally hears proposals on, contracting with the USDA APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) to do this has been happening. One reason it is happening right now this week is because the geese are in a “molt” stage, which means that their flight feathers have fallen out and they are sitting ducks for three weeks, unable to take flight.
For more information on Canada geese, their living habits, and on this program, see the earlier article A Little Beacon Blog wrote about it here.
Protection Of Geese - Until They Are Too Much And Killed
“All Canada geese, including resident flocks, are protected by Federal and State laws and regulations. In New York, management responsibility for Canada geese is shared by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). It is illegal to hunt, kill, sell, purchase, or possess migratory birds or their parts (feathers, nests, eggs, etc.) except as permitted by regulations adopted by USFWS and DEC.'“
The DEC also does not allow the relocation of Canada geese at any point in the year, with or without a permit. At the Beacon presentation, the reasoning provided was that Canada geese prefer to come back to where they were hatched, and grow their families there.
One round of taking and killing the geese would not seem to do the trick, and in theory, would need to be repeated every year, for at least three years because when the females turn three years old, they are known to return to the place that they hatched, and lay their own eggs.
Once a pond or river is clear of geese, say, if they have been removed and killed each year for three years, would new geese settle there? During Beacon’s presentation, the USDA APHIS Services said that there are 250,000 Canada geese in New York, and their target number is 85,000.
That is a lot of exterminating.
PERSONAL NOTE: Just like with mice prevention in a house, I would probably get a cat, and vacuum and mop my floors. In the case of geese, if I elected to live near a pond or river where geese like to settle, I would probably get a dog, build a fence (to keep the dog in), and let the dog have geese play time.