As Canada Geese Continue To Flock To Westchester, Concerns Mount

  • Comments (41)
Canada Geese have taken over Westchester County.
Canada Geese have taken over Westchester County. Photo Credit: File
This Canada Goose enjoyed a leisurely stroll in Scarsdale last spring.
This Canada Goose enjoyed a leisurely stroll in Scarsdale last spring. Photo Credit: File

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – Westchester is developing a real fowl problem.

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Do You Think Canada Geese Should Be Protected In The County?

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Reader Results

Do You Think Canada Geese Should Be Protected In The County?

  • Yes, anything else would be inhumane.

    60%
  • No, they've outstayed their welcome.

    40%
Back to Vote

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.

  • 41
    Comments

Comments (41)

What is wrong with some people? Have some empathy, please. Put yourself in the place of these families - yes, families - of geese. Would you like your family to be murdered for no other reason than that they wish to live, eat, migrate freely, etc? If there are "too many" geese in any one area, what about people? The world is "over-populated" with humans for sure, and we are doing far more widespread damage to the earth than geese are!
Geese have minds and feelings, they suffer pain and fear, and they grieve
when they see their children and other loved ones killed -- just as you would!
It is sick to think of killing them, and our USDA's horrible Wildlife Services and other govt. agencies murder them in the millions in such cruel ways.
Even if you don't care about animals' suffering, do you really want your tax spent on mass slaughter?

And in case some people don't believe me about non-human animals' thoughts and feelings, check out the conference of top world scientist in Cambridge in 2012 - The Francis Crick (Nobel prizewinner) Conference on Animal Consciousness declared that non-human animals DO think and feel, very much as we do. Thus, their murders at the hands of WS or DEC, etc., should be deplored and Illegal!

PS For those of you who think their poop on the lawns is disgusting, is your excrement somehow more sanitary? And yours is regularly flushed into our waterways worldwide. Not to mention all the much worse chemical pollution we spread everywhere, agricultural runoff killing whole ecosystems, coal ash killing all the wildlife in the rivers in WV and NC, etc., etc., ad infinitum. So who is the more disgusting creature, man or geese?

When human beings start to feel a true caring and responsbility for all life on this planet, then we will have evolved. Until then we are nowhere.

Beautiful thought, Deebee, thank you.

Excuse me, but starting a comment out with "you people" is an immediate turn off. I don't get your comment at all. Trying to speak the truth about geese, that's hurting people who are dying, etc. Doesn't compute at all. There is so much bunk out there about animals and in this case, geese, that is just false and horrifying. Why you don't have compassion for a living being is beyond me.

The endless, needless, wasteful wanton killing spree of our wildlife by the government needs to end. Instead, how about we focus on what man has done and continues to do- destroy and wipe out everything and anything in it's path.

Bravo to Senator George Latimer, Westchester 4Geese and all who are working to stop the annihilation of our wildlife and expose the government and it's lack of transparency and greed.

It is wonderful that wild animals are part of the environment. A burgeoning human population, increasingly encroaching on open and wild land, purveyors of trash and all things plastic, is the real problem. Solve that if you want to make life better.

THIS IS NOTHING BUT TAXPAYER FRAUD

The USDA is continually using methods that don't work, dogs, egg oiling, shooting, gassing, poisoning, etc. If they did work, we would not be talking on this subject. What makes these method's most alarming is back in 2004 when we invented our "animal scaring device " we told the USDA after repeated phone calls and emails that killing is unnecessary now. Geesebusters demonstrated our method at different locations with the USDA biologist (Allen Gosser) in New York. They were very amazed on the effectiveness of our product and then decided to buy one. We sold and trained them in Orange County, N.Y. At the same time we also sold to the Humane Society of the United States. Both party's to this day ignore this method and refuses to contact us for years. For over 10 years the Government has killed hundreds of millions of birds sinfully.

THE COVER UP continues with The Humane Society of the United States along with the Audubon Society of New York they claim to be bird lovers, but endure killing by the USDA. I personal spoke to Susan Elbin of the Audubon, after the Kill of over 485 geese at Prospect Park and explained my humane and LOW COST METHOD of controlling all birds, without an endorsement or any push for this humane method to stop the needless killings. The other people their in bed with is The United States Humane Society in which purchased The method in 2004 by John Hadidian who I found out later, served on the USDA Wildlife Services national advisory committee, he states that our set-up is still in his closet and has never used it ( 10 years now). This is because his ties with geese peace and david feld, which method is egg oiling and running dogs (methods that don't work). Holly Hassit VP of geese peace back then, now has a nice job with Humane Society. Every chance I get I will expose them, so enjoy your orgys.

When it's your time for judgement day may God has mercy on your souls!!

To say there's no method's that work? You all should be ashamed of themselves!!!

SEE OUR METHOD also (see whistle trained geese)

see video--- http://geesebusters.com/oursolution.html

Atlantic City Boardwalk

http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/news/press/atlantic/eagle-kite-is-gulls-worst-nightmare-on-atlantic-city-beach/article_c8a26638-9a35-5b68-96ed-76df857f35e5.html

ROBERT GUADAGNA, OWNER GEESEBUSTERS

Caption under photo: "Canada geese have taken over Westchester County."

But, the writer fails to explain exactly how the geese "have taken over."

Are the geese invading people's homes?

Are they mugging and attacking people on the streets?

Have the geese rampaged through shopping malls and stolen property?

Are they throwing wild parties at night?

It seems the only "evidence" the writer throws up to bolster his claim about the geese "taking over" is the claim there are 250,000 geese for the single county of Westchester. -- A very dubious claim considering there are not even 200,000 geese for the entire state of NY.

It is incumbant upon this so-called "journalist" to present actual evidence to his completely outrageous and false claim that the geese "are taking over."

Tacking on multiple zeros to a number is evidence only to incompetence and/or worse, malice of the writer to seriously mislead the public.

Goosebusters DOES NOTHING but chase geese from one place to the other. It does nothing to manage the population. It is also totally inhumane unless it is used in a few key areas like golf courses and airports.

Geese are like people...they consider a particular area their home range, they nest in the same spot every year. They have a 'home range' and to be continually chasing them around from one spot to another is useless and INHUMANE.

Egg addling DOES work when you have a comprehensive plan and involve the public with reporting nests. Dogs can be used on a few areas like golf courses and airports. Take your business elsewhere.

MEDIA RELEASE: Egg Addling Controls Goose Population

“In a continued effort to control the Canada Goose population in the Okanagan Valley, the Okanagan Valley Goose Management Program is about to begin its annual egg addling program. Over the PAST SIX YEARS, this program has prevented the exponential increase of the non-migratory resident goose population that inhabits the valley all year long………Since the program began in 2007, approximately 7,700 EGGS HAVE BEEN PREVENTED FROM HATCHING THROUGH THIS MINIMALLY INVASIVE APPROACH…. ….In order for the program to succeed, new nests need to be identified. The PUBLIC IS ASKED TO REPORT lone geese, pairs of geese or nest locations on private or public land.”

http://www.okanagangooseplan.com/?p=270

In addition to ground surveys, aerial surveys were conducted in 2007 and 2011 to estimate the number of geese residing in the Okanagan Valley and to determine what proportion of the population were hatched that year. THE CANADA GOOSE POPULATION APPEARS TO HAVE STABILIZED THROUGHOUT THE VALLEY.

http://www.okanagangooseplan.com/?cat=6

GOOSE STRATEGY AND ACTION PLAN.

http://www.okanagangooseplan.com/files/OVGMP_Strategy_Action%20Plan_2006.pdf

We have an area the size of NJ in BC where egg addling has worked to manage the population.

You do nothing but chase geese from place to place and you have no idea where they might go and you don't care where they go.

That is not geese management. We also have many areas people like to see and expect to see urban wildlife. Unlike some places where it seems people want to eradicate all traces of urban wildlife and nature, the idea here is to reduce human/goose conflict in areas they might be a problem..golf courses and airports. Most other places people can coexist quite nicely with a decent number of geese.

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.610346045653305.1073741866.100000337454953&type=1&l=f27740b6fb

Zak, you keep removing all the comments about your inflated goose numbers. I am writing your editor. Also, all the goose supporters have this information as well as Senator Latimer so stopping it from appearing here is doing little to nothing.

The DEC says there is close to 200,000 geese in the entire state of NY. Another APHIS/USDA document says in 2003, there were 240,000 geese.

So the goose population has DECLINED in the state and there is no way you have 250,000 in your county.

"Today, New York's resident Canada goose population numbers close to 200,000 birds, with nesting documented all across the state." http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/34434.html

And egg addling works. Here is your tried and true blueprint.

MEDIA RELEASE: Egg Addling Controls Goose Population

“In a continued effort to control the Canada Goose population in the Okanagan Valley, the Okanagan Valley Goose Management Program is about to begin its annual egg addling program. Over the PAST SIX YEARS, this program has prevented the exponential increase of the non-migratory resident goose population that inhabits the valley all year long………Since the program began in 2007, approximately 7,700 EGGS HAVE BEEN PREVENTED FROM HATCHING THROUGH THIS MINIMALLY INVASIVE APPROACH…. ….In order for the program to succeed, new nests need to be identified. The PUBLIC IS ASKED TO REPORT lone geese, pairs of geese or nest locations on private or public land.”

http://www.okanagangooseplan.com/?p=270

In addition to ground surveys, aerial surveys were conducted in 2007 and 2011 to estimate the number of geese residing in the Okanagan Valley and to determine what proportion of the population were hatched that year. THE CANADA GOOSE POPULATION APPEARS TO HAVE STABILIZED THROUGHOUT THE VALLEY.

http://www.okanagangooseplan.com/?cat=6

GOOSE STRATEGY AND ACTION PLAN.

http://www.okanagangooseplan.com/files/OVGMP_Strategy_Action%20Plan_2006.pdf

We have huge problems with climate change, polar vortex, and all this snow/cold.

Re USA Today: "Winter's costs are piling up"
The costs of lost flights from Dec.1 through Feb. 28 is an estimated $5.8 billion.

It's a staggering amount of money - WHICH HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH GEESE!

People need to wake up - and stop scapegoating geese and other wildlife.

You do know the earth's climate has been changing for millions and millions of years?

You've heard of the ice age probably?

Our geese could and should be the staple for the homeless.

Sure...geese contaminated by environmental pollutants including pesticides used on those golf courses you are so worried about. You realize by the time they were tested for contaminants they would be more expensive meat than simply buying food in the supermarket? This is like feeding the poor your roadkill...try to find an excuse to whitewash your killing. There is no reason for the geese to be killed in the first place. None.

You seem to have removed a few of my comments...ie the one about egg addling being effective, one about golf courses and border collies, and the one about the USDA being audited and investigated, and the one about what is polluting NY's water. And the one by researchers saying avian feces rarely contain disease causing pathogens. At least four factual referenced comments. Way to go, obvious where the wind blows here. Don't worry...I have them posted on goose sites so everyone interested in this issue already has this information. Zac, you should stick to sports, alternatively go to investigative journalism school.

Canada geese don't 'contaminate' our parks...maybe your parks staff need some training in parks maintenance.....Stanley Park was named world's best park by Trip Advisor...and there are geese here. There has NEVER been a health problem related to our geese. Get serious.

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.454679931219918.99380.100000337454953&type=1&l=65d58a1f15

"Most people seldom encounter anything but lifeless, man-made things in their daily lives and have lost the capacity to understand living things or to interact with them. That loss helps explain why mankind as a whole exhibits such VANDALISM TOWARDS THE LIVING WORLD OF NATURE that surrounds us and makes our way of life possible. It is an important and worthy undertaking to try to restore the lost contact between human beings and the other living organisms of our planet."….. Konrad Lorenz, Nobel Prize winning Austrian zoologist, ethologist, and ornithologist

Are you raising children who will be able to face the environmental challenges of today or wimps what will continue to put their little desires above all else??????

"Kids need to offset 'screen time' with 'nature time'

Growing evidence links lack of time in nature to depression, attention deficit disorder

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.610346045653305.1073741866.100000337454953&type=1&l=f27740b6fb

Yep, let's blame the geese for all the crap we pump into the environment as this New York Times article from today points out: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/15/us/scientists-turn-their-gaze-toward-tiny-threats-to-great-lakes.html?_r=0

Don't they know about the "vacuum" process? Kill 'em and more take their place. Of course Wildlife Services will be happy to take your hard-earned tax dollars to do what they LOVE to do!
Personally, I find the idea of "gassing" and "giving the meat to the hungry" to be morally repugnant.

"Around the Westchester County Airport, when these birds get caught in airplane engines, they’ve been known to force emergency landings."

Many things have been known to force emergency landings, most of them aren't geese. There is no actual science behind the theory killing resident geese off airport grounds will protect planes. None, no science.

You kill local birds and they are replaced by other birds that see the vacant space. This is a USDA idea......because their WS get the lucrative killing contracts.

They killed geese in one park in NYC last year when the birds were molting and had goslings, and guess what..within weeks they had a bunch more geese in the park.

In just the last two years, the Port Authority and the USDA has killed more than 20,000 animals around airports. These include, but are not limited to, 997 Canada geese and hundreds of mallards, swans, robins, song sparrows and even a parakeet. But, apparently, this carnage is not enough for the factually deprived writer of this "article" or some wildlife hating residents of Westchester. What a sad commentary on the human race. http://observer.com/2014/03/clear-the-runway-new-report-claims-the-port-authority-killed-20000-animals-the-past-two-years/

The writer of this propaganda piece that is almost entirely devoid of fact apparently has neither brain nor heart to understand the devastating impacts this brutal winter has had on wildlife, particularly waterfowl. Please try to educate yourself: http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/columnists/long-brutal-winter-starving-waterfowl-247205501.html

The writer of this piece is also removing comments, including the one about egg addling being effective in the Okanagan Valley of BC and the link to an article by researchers saying avian feces rarely contain disease causing pathogens. So good luck with that education advice.

The Federal government helped finance a contraceptive for Canada geese, like they did for pigeons. Are officials this unaware of both comprehensive egg addling programs and OvoControlG? They shouldn't be in charge of picking up garbage let alone managing wildlife which they apparently know NOTHING about.

PRESS RELEASE

Innolytics, LLC, the developer of OvoControl®, the contraceptive bait for resident Canada geese, pigeons and other birds, commented today on the UNDERUTILIZATION of the technology by state and federal wildlife management agencies.

"While our new product for pigeons, OvoControl P, has experienced rapid growth and acceptance by municipalities and businesses, OvoControl G has not seen the same widespread use as a tool for goose population management. State and federal agencies responsible for wildlife management have been very reluctant to test the new management tool", stated Erick Wolf, CEO of Innolytics. "THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT FINANCED a large part of the research, so it is unfortunate that certain government agencies have been less than supportive of this non-lethal and humane alternative for goose control", added Wolf.

http://wildlifecontrolsupplies.blogspot.ca/2010/08/contraception-for-canada-geese-remains.html

No big surprise, Marion. When you have a group of "foxes watching the henhouse" ... who get paid to hunt our wildlife ... of course they're going to forego any cheaper, more HUMANE alternatives. They want to keep their jobs. The American public is continuously being duped.

If you read any Wildlife Mgt. Plan advocating killing (and they all do) they always give some reference to the human/ animal conflict record. Therefore it's not in their own interests to use any humane alternatives to mitigate conflicts but rather works to their advantage to be able to claim a greater amount of conflicts as a supporting reason that they're actually managing wildlife on behalf of the public.
The same reason white tail deer contraception alternatives will never be allowed to see the light of day.

"The county’s population of Giant Canada Geese – which has surpassed 250,000"

This is just a blatant lie since there are NOT even 250,000 in the entire state of New York.

"Today, New York's resident Canada goose population numbers close to 200,000 birds, with nesting documented all across the state."

http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/34434.html

As the document link posted above points out, if there are 200,000 Canada geese for the entire state of New York, how can there be 250,00 geese in the county of Westchester? Start off the article with one outrageous lie and we have to presume that nearly everything else in the article is lie or wild exaggeration designed to scare people into sanctioning unjustified and hideously cruel wildlife carnage.

Sounds like the author needs to read the actual verbiage of the proposed legislation. It merely states that public discussion needs to happen before enacting lethal methods to kill wildlife. Ya know, democracy 101. Why is that so radical? What is interesting is why there was never any discussion in the past.

As it stands now, the govt can pretty much wipe out most animals using tax money without telling anyone. And the DO. Wake up people. They kill all species, not just geese and turkeys. They kill because it makes them look useful and makes money. They make up reasons. They make up numbers. 250,000 is a questionable number. The same people who determine "how many" of a species there are, are the ones who determine how many "need" to be killed. Hmm, how convenient. The TAXPAYERS should be the ones to decide. We are bleeding taxes in Westchester and when they have these animal culls, they have an entourage of "biologists" vans, mobile gas chambers, poison, sharpshooters, traps, etc etc. all paid for by ME, so yeah, I'd like a say in what happens. And I vote to let the wildlife LIVE. If there are too many of anything, it would be people, cars, malls, houses, and so on.

Not to mention these are animals that deserve to live, not fodder for some bloated, power-hungry govt agency.

"Truth" -- your screen name makes me cringe. There are intelligent, non- neanderthal ways to control the number of geese. Or have you been in a cave your entire life? I think you need to have a long and good look at your lack of empathy and intelligence. Geese belong in this world, we have encroached and encroached on so many habitats. Please develop some empathy and smarts.

Shoot the geese instead of the deer, they crap all over including the places children play. All the nonsense about birth control is just that. Dog owners pick up because its a hazard. The population seems to be growing, stop them or let the goose lovers hand out condoms to control the population & to pick up the mess they leave.

This article is so biased in favor of wiping out the geese, it loses all objectivity and credibility. For example, considering that there are 3.8 million geese in the entire United States (according to federal agencies), it makes zero sense, there would be "250,000 in one county." Do a little research on the subject of which you write and get back to us.

It's disgusting how we steal land away from animals and then are outraged that they have nowhere to go. YES agree what a biased, error filled article. Shame on this publication!!

No only have humans destroyed over 60% of the wetlands, which was their natural habitat, but if you research the history of Canada geese you will find they were killed to the point of extinction in the early 1900s. So for hunters, government wildlife agencies used captive breeding flocks and basically planted geese all over North America including places they had never bred before. The government also forced market hunters - which kept thousands of live decoy birds - to release them.

So today's populations of these resident geese are TOTALLY a result of human manipulation by government wildlife agencies and conservation groups like Audubon.

"One race, the Giant Canada Goose, used to breed in southern Canada and the northern United States but disappeared from most of its range by the late 1800s. Early settlers may have gathered Giant Canada Goose eggs and rounded up and slaughtered many of the geese during the flightless moulting period.

Beginning in the early 1900s, Canada Geese from captive breeding flocks were reintroduced into the southern parts of their former range. This practice continued through much of the 20th century, and Canada Geese were eventually restored in Pennsylvania, New York, Ontario, and west to southern Alberta.

During this period, geese were also introduced to areas where they may not have bred before."

http://www.hww.ca/en/species/birds/canada-goose.html

"So today's populations of these resident geese are TOTALLY a result of human manipulation by government wildlife agencies...."
And they're the ones supposedly so smart about wildlife.

If they knew geese LEARN to migrate by following the parents in flight they 'might' have anticipated their manipulation would backfire. But the greed of each state Wildlife Agency to have more geese for their state's waterfowl hunters either blinded them or they're the opposite of smart.

For one thing, there has never been a human epidemic or public health menace attributable to goose droppings. Forgive me for continually bringing up our experience in Bend, Oregon, where we have now gone 4 years without a goose extermination. We have been successful because we have given the time and conscientious effort needed to bring the populations under control using nonlethal methods. Dog owners from the community have enjoyed enlisting themselves and their companions as volunteer goose intimidators. We have posted City-wide bulletins instructing citizens to report Canada goose nests in places like roofs and back yards; when a nest is reported, the eggs are oiled by a Park district employee. It takes a multi-pronged effort, community support, and patience. There is evidence that the wild populations of Canada geese are now reestablishing historic population levels after having been hunted nearly to extinction 40 years ago. They are not "taking over." It was a wild group of geese that downed Sully's plane, not the resident geese that are so often the focus of local extermination campaigns. To eliminate all airborne threats would require eliminating all of the wild geese; are we prepared to do so?

Uh uh, look at waterfowl hunting sites, Canada geese are the biggest commodity going for sale of duck stamps & state waterfowl hunting licenses.
The same way State Wildlife Agencies factor in human/ moose car collision deaths when planning to introduce moose for hunting, THEY would be opposed to eliminating all geese because of airborne threats.

The haters in this world refuse to use their intelligence. It is WRONG to kill geese, animals without first doing the right thing which is to (as said above) use a multi pronged approach. WHY is it the first thing humans think of -- kill, kill, kill. This is obscene and dead wrong.

@deebeee: WELL stated.

Fosterfell: No need to apologize, that is very helpful information. Thank you for posting it. Hopefully it will be heeded. It most certainly should be.

There are many other ways to control the population of geese. Killing them off would be a tragedy for future generations. Populations can be controlled by limiting the breeding habits as they did in N. Y. C. With the pigeons.