Gasing Geese is a Gas

06/15/2009 2:34 PM |

ce56/1245090135-canada-geese.jpgAs a pseudo-Canadian, environmentally-minded, lifetime member of the Sierra Club, last week’s news that the City of New York is planning to kill an extra 2,000 Canada geese over the summer (in addition to the casual killing they do near airports already) feels like an attack both on the red, maple leaf-shaped half of my heart, and the green, globe-shaped half of my brain. The move stems from fears of another plane crashing because of birds, which means that 155 human lives are worth roughly 2,000 Canada geese lives (or, one human=12.9 geese approx.).

Does’t this fly in the face (pun!) of all the city’s high-profile greenwashing projects like putting in new bike lanes, turning Times Square and Herald Square pedestrian, and planting one million trees? Or, are human lives, expensive airplanes and costly insurance claims worth a few thousand bird lives? I’m leaning in favor of the geese on this one, but maybe that just makes me a cold-blooded Canadian eco-terrorist or something.

4 Comment

  • here’s a group which develops humane ways of dealing with geese:

    and here’s what you can do:

    Send some e-mails, and faxes, and make some phone calls. A sample letter is reprinted below. For the City Council and USDA, we have e-mail addresses below – cut and paste them into your e-mail. For some contacts, like Mayor Bloomberg, we only have a web form, so you’ll need to fill out the form at the sites indicated below, or, better yet, send a fax and make a phone call!


    Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
    City Hall; New York, NY 10007
    ph: 311 (or 212-788-3000 outside NYC); fax: 212-312-0700
    web form [300 word limit]:…

    USDA-APHIS, Wildlife Services State Director
    1930 Route 9; Castleton, NY 12033
    ph: 518-477-4837; fax: 518-477-4899
    Allen Gosser:
    Martin Lowney:

    The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey
    225 Park Avenue South; New York, NY 10003
    ph: 212-435-7000;
    web form:

    NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    Sample Letter (but please use your own words!)

    Dear Mayor Bloomberg, Port Authority of NY & NJ, and USDA-APHIS Wildlife Services State Director:

    I oppose New York City’s plan to kill up to 2,000 Canada geese this summer. Please implement non-violent ways to safeguard airplanes from collisions with birds. I hope public outrage will convince you to cancel this misguided initiative.

    The recently formed NYC Wildlife Hazard Management Steering Committee to Promote Aviation Safety within the Metropolitan Area should devise a better solution than mass killing. I urge Mayor Bloomberg, the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, and the USDA-APHIS-WS State Director to employ non-lethal management of Canada geese. A sweeping eradication shows no long-term commitment to reduce flock growth.

    When geese are killed without modifying landscapes and waterways that attracted them in the first place, replacement geese soon fill the void.

    There are seven GeesePeace chapters in New York. All specialize in population stabilization and site aversion. GeesePeace relies on integrated strategies that are long lasting. They demonstrate how to recruit and train community volunteers to find nests, addle/oil eggs, use repellents and other applications on a scale that solves conflicts with resident Canada geese.

    It is particularly inhumane to ambush geese when molting and flightless. Yet that is how goslings and adults will be trapped on municipal properties surrounding Kennedy and LaGuardia airports.

    Communities nationwide have successfully used non-violent tactics to significantly reduce flock growth. I urge airport biologists, elected officials, and the Port Authority to ramp up bird-radar and scare
    tactic programs at airports – but leave the killing out of it.

    Thank you,

    In Defense of Animals, located in San Rafael, Calif., is an international animal protection organization with more than 85,000 members and supporters dedicated to ending the abuse and exploitation of animals by protecting their rights and welfare. IDA’s efforts include educational events, cruelty investigations, boycotts, grassroots activism, and hands-on rescue through our sanctuaries in Mississippi, Mumbai, India, and Cameroon, Africa.

    In Defense of Animals is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization. We welcome your feedback and appreciate your donations. Please join today! All donations to IDA are tax-deductible.

    In Defense of Animals
    3010 Kerner, San Rafael, CA 94901
    Tel. (415) 448-0048 Fax (415) 454-1031

    To unsubscribe, please click here.

  • Yeah, the culling is pretty ridiculous. I feel like there should be a better resolution to it, but they’re too lazy to figure it out. What’s next? Deer that run across streets?

  • Donated Canada Goose Art to be auctioned off in New York City Humanscale faces in the wild September 16th 2009.

    TRUST AND OBLIGATION Fine art print 20″ X 48″
    Photographer and artist: Ingrid Dion, Canada

    TRUST AND OBLIGATION was a slow process of observation and patience. When hiking in the Ottawa Valley I noted a couple of geese making a nest on a small mount in a bay of a pond within a private waterfowl reserve. Geese mate for life and these two characters were inseparable, be it swimming in the small area that was not covered by the receding ice or gathering bits of dry grasses and mud for the nest. I returned to the area several times a week to observe them. Then one day I saw the female on the mount keeping her eggs warm whilst the male was away. The countdown began for the hatching. On the day of the hatching I saw with my binoculars that a bit of yellow fluff could be seen under the mother goose. I dressed in my waders and gathered my camera equipment and headed out toward the mound. Slowly approaching so as to not frighten the mother goose or the attention of the protective male! I situated myself in the mud and waited for that special moment all photographers wait for. Out from under the large wing emerged the gosling. The mother with her head flat and eyes never wavering from mine, wary yet trusting. I quietly told her that I was not there to harm her or her baby and how beautiful she was. When I was finished with the photo shoot I slowly retreated and marvelled at how very fortunate I was to have not been attacked by the male despite my very close encounter with the nesting site.
    This opportunity brought to mind the awfulness of the habitat degradation that our respective countries are responsible for. How these wild and wonderful geese are forced to nest closer and closer to urban areas. That these geese must reinvent new habitats in order to survive.
    This work is in memoriam to the 2000 + Canada Geese that were gassed by the Mayor of New York City, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the USDA-APHIS State Director. Despite the best efforts of letters sent in, bad publicity and the NYC protest of the Canadian Geese slaughter organized by on June 16th 2009…no other alternative was considered and they were killed.

    Ingrid Dion