WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – Westchester is developing a real fowl problem.
The county’s population of Giant Canada Geese – which has surpassed 250,000 – and other wild birds continues to swell, and municipalities have limited options to control their numbers as they face pressure from animal rights groups.
Last week, Sen. George Latimer (D-37) introduced legislation that would protect the geese and wild turkeys. If the bill passes, it will require a local public hearing to discuss non-lethal methods to remove the geese before they are sent upstate to be gassed.
“We are proud that Latimer has shown consideration and decency to those who have no voice, yet have a right to exist on this earth without the constant threats by the (United States Department of Agriculture) to kill them all, which we will not just sit back and allow to happen,” officials with Westchester 4 Geese said in a statement.
For years, elected officials and residents alike have contended that the ever-growing goose populous’ droppings debase beloved parks, golf courses and contaminate outdoor gathering areas.
Around the Westchester County Airport, when these birds get caught in airplane engines, they’ve been known to force emergency landings.
“I’m not sure what the right answer is, but we really have to figure something out, it just keeps getting worse,” Yonkers resident Carl Johnson said in White Plains. “I know it’s inhumane to kill them, but maybe that’s a sacrifice that needs to be made. Or we need a different solution.”
Last year, officials in Mamaroneck and Scarsdale were prepared to enter into a contract with the USDA to exterminate a small percentage of the geese before outrage and uproar from animal rights activists from all over the state forced them to seek alternate options.
Alternate ways to deal with the goose population include using a border collie to scare geese away – which failed previously in Scarsdale when the ducks cornered the dog and forced it into the pond – growing tall grass near the water to eliminate sight lines, piercing goose or addling eggs and treating nests.
“There are non-lethal, humane ways to dissuade geese from molting and nesting. Lots of them,” Anne Muller, of the Wildlife Watch said. “(Municipalities) need to give up the notion of killing. It will save communities from becoming divided.”
What do you think about the extermination of Giant Canada Geese in the county? Vote in our poll and continue the conversation in the comments section.