Category Archives: Geese

County contracts to kill geese, bird lovers cry fowl

Geese

The distinctive Canada geese that populated the GastonCountyPark in Dallas were a joy to many who watched them through the years.

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But the birds’ excessive waste also prompted complaints from numerous visitors. So county officials, who agreed the flock had grown too large, paid to have 144 of the birds rounded up and euthanized Tuesday.

That decision to eliminate the entire flock ruffled the feathers of Carolina Waterfowl Rescue, an Indian Trail nonprofit that says the county acted too hastily, when it could have simply had the fowl relocated.

GastonCountyParks and Recreation Director Cathy Hart said the county was simply reacting to a longstanding problem the best way it knew how.

“It’s pretty common for (overpopulation) to happen around ponds at schools, parks and airports,” she said. “This is a (euthanization) service that is used a lot, unfortunately.”

Carolina Waterfowl Rescue Director Jennifer Gordon said the county never made its intentions clear. Her organization had been trying to work with GastonCounty to manage the problem, and had already relocated some of the birds. Had they known the entire Canada goose flock was going to be destroyed, they would have relocated them all, she said.

“The bigger issue here is that all animals deserve to be treated humanely,” said Gordon. “They had options to do that and they didn’t use them.”

Birds seen as a nuisance

Non-migratory Canada geese populations have been on the rise in recent years. They stand out with their brownish gray bodies, black heads and necks and white face patches.

Yet while the birds are attractive, their droppings are less appealing to the nose and shoes. A single goose can produce a half-pound of feces per day, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services division.

The waste often coated the grassy areas around the park’s ponds, athletic fields, picnic areas, concert stage, restrooms and parking lots. Before summer events such as Pops in the Park, the county had to repeatedly spend time and money power-washing areas and cleaning up feces, Hart said.

“It was really time-consuming,” she said. “We had citizens complaining they couldn’t even use the trails out there because of all the geese droppings.”

Canada geese are federally protected. But their increasing reputation as a nuisance has prompted the USDA to offer an option for removing them. Park staff must first try other approved methods to disperse geese and prevent them from reproducing, said USDA spokeswoman Carol Bannerman.

GastonCounty paid the Wildlife Services division $1,666 to send a team to the park Tuesday morning. The geese are moulting — shedding old feathers and growing new ones — and unable to fly away. So specialists herded the birds into a temporary corral, placed them in poultry crates and transported them elsewhere to be euthanized via gas.

“They are euthanized following guidelines approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association … and disposed of as required by a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service permit,” Bannerman said.

No warning?

Hart said she made it clear to Gordon in early May that Carolina Waterfowl Rescue could remove any of the birds it wished to, and relocate them to a sanctuary.

“On May 23, they came out and removed a number of the birds,” she said. “We’ve allowed them to do that any time they wanted.”

About 10 domestic ducks and geese are still at the park, Hart said.

Gordon said it’s not normal for her nonprofit to rescue an entire flock of Canada geese.

“Realistically, we wouldn’t come in and take every bird from a park,” she said. “We left what was a very reasonable amount of geese out there.”

Rebecca Duffeck, a Carolina Waterfowl Rescue volunteer who lives near the park, has looked after the geese and ducks for years. She said there were no more than 40 to 50 Canada geese living there.

Gordon and Duffeck say Hart never divulged that a contract was being signed to wipe out the entire flock.

“We were talking to them, offering to help them with the geese and at no point did they tell us what they were really planning,” Gordon said.

The nonprofit could have transported the birds to a 300-acre preserve it owns in South Carolina, she said.

Hart said the county recently put up signs at the park directing visitors to not feed the geese. In recent years, park officials also tried measures such as enclosing picnic shelters near the ponds with temporary fencing, spraying the ground with goose repellant, allowing the grass to grow taller around the lake, and even removing fertilized eggs.

Gordon disputes that adequate steps were taken to manage the goose population. She believes the county violated the USDA’s requirement.

“There was no planning or thought put into this,” said Gordon. “If they don’t have a management plan, the geese will just return. And they can’t just keep killing geese over and over.”

Source: http://www.gastongazette.com/spotlight/county-contracts-to-kill-geese-bird-lovers-cry-fowl-video-1.164074#

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Staffy and Gosling become buddies

An orphaned goose has formed an unlikely friendship with a Staffordshire Bull Terrier after being given a home at a dog rescue centre in Leeds.

Named Orville, the gosling was one week old when he was found alone and injured in Morley.

Brian Wheelhouse, founder of the Whitehall Dog Rescue centre in East Ardsley, said: “Ruby was there from the beginning and I think he saw her as a mother figure. He just started following her around and it got to the point where he wouldn’t go out if Ruby wasn’t there.

“She loves him and he loves her.”

A Honking Mess

Too many geese in the ArcticScientists hope increasing hunting pressure will bring the expanding population of Ross’s geese under control and stop them from overgrazing and destroying their habitat in Arctic Canada.

Wildlife scientists want Inuit hunters to kill more Arctic-nesting geese in an effort to manage populations so out of control the birds are destroying their own habitat.

Experts acknowledge the plan isn’t likely to work and admit they don’t know what to do about ballooning numbers of Ross’s geese that are denuding large areas of the North.

“It’s really unprecedented in waterfowl management history to have a population that’s out of control and can’t be controlled through hunting,” said Jim Leafloor of the Canadian Wildlife Service. “We’re not really sure at this point where it’s all going to lead.”

Ross’s geese — which migrate between Canada’s northern coastline and as far south as California — were once hunted so extensively that their numbers were down to a few thousand in the 1930s. Environmental protections and the spread of agricultural practices that favour bird foraging have changed all that.

Kiel Drake of Bird Studies Canada estimates there are now about two million of the small, white geese. Together with about five million lesser snow geese — which have tripled their numbers since the 1970s and have similar habits — that spells big, honking trouble.

“It’s the way they feed,” said Leafloor. “They strip vegetation from fairly large areas.”

Sky-filling flocks are hammering their tundra nesting grounds in the Queen Maud Bird Sanctuary along the Northwest Passage. The destruction follows their migration path south, through the coastal marshes of Hudson Bay and James Bay.

“A lot of that habitat is already destroyed,” said Leafloor. “The losses there just continue to mount and expand into other areas.”

Grazing geese strip the land bare, exposing soil and peat. Recovery is slow in the Arctic’s cold climate and poor soil.

Ripping out vegetation also changes the flow of soil moisture. It draws salts to the surface and prevents normal plants from growing back. That, in turn, affects other birds and animals.

Last week, wildlife service officials asked the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board to agree to have Ross’s geese declared overabundant, which would allow managers to expand the hunting season. The board has made a recommendation to federal Environment Minister Peter Kent, who is to make the final decision.

“We think the population of (Ross’s geese) might be small enough that it could be controlled through hunting,” Leafloor said. “That remains to be seen.”

Snow geese were declared overabundant in 1999. Hunters are allowed to shoot them spring through fall, but it hasn’t made much difference.

“We think that’s an example of a population that’s beyond the ability of hunters to control.”

Nor is Mother Nature likely to take a hand by reducing numbers through overcrowding and disease. If their regular habitat becomes too degraded or crowded, the birds just find another area and strip it.

Others stay behind and eke out a living on their original feeding grounds, preventing recovery.

“The problem expands as the population expands,” Leafloor said.

No one really knows how much of the Arctic is already affected. And no one really knows where the problem is headed.

“Nobody knows what the limits are,” said Leafloor.

“We don’t know what the carrying capacity of the Arctic is. We don’t know how much food is there and how much natural habitat is available to support these geese.

“What we’re doing right now is monitoring them and watching the changes in population size and documenting changes in their range.

“But beyond that, what do you do with multimillions of geese?”

Source: http://www.ctvnews.ca/sci-tech/a-honking-mess-goose-population-out-of-control-in-canada-s-north-1.1337986#ixzz2XEN8CfUW

Radnor may try swans to get rid of geese

The problem is so bad in Radnor Township that one of the ball fields has been dubbed “Goose Poop Field.”

As they have all over the region, geese have been fouling the fields, lakes, parks, and grassy lawns of housing developments in the wealthy Delaware County community, prompting residents to request action.

Radnor officials say they may have a partial solution to the “rodents with wings”: mute swans.

The township is considering deploying the swans at the Willows Park, a 47-acre former estate off Darby-Paoli Road.

A memo from Stephen F. Norcini, director of public works, concluded that the swans, known to act aggressively toward other winged creatures, were “a reliable way to control a pond’s Canadian goose population around the clock.”

Actually, they are Canada geese. Not that they have to pass through customs; they are members of the nonmigratory species Branta canadensis maxima.

Norcini did not return calls seeking comment.

The memo proposed to purchase two of the graceful white birds from a breeder near Harrisburg for $1,000 and build a $500 island at the pond at the park. The swans also would “add beauty and excitement” to the area, the memo said.

“Noooo, bad idea,” said Barbara Avers, a waterfowl and wetland specialist for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, where swans have proved to be a growing threat to native animals, habitat, and people.

She said the township might be trading one problem for another. As Michigan’s population of the white swans increased, so did the complaints.

Avers said the swans will feed on vegetation important for native species and can quickly alter the wetlands ecosystem, affecting native birds, fish, frogs, and turtles.

Mute swans are nonnative, invasive, and extremely aggressive to people, Avers said, especially when guarding their nests or young.

Myriad swan attacks appear on YouTube, including one that shows a bride trying to flee with an irate swan firmly attached to the back of her dress. (see video below)

In April 2012 an Illinois man working for a company that used the birds to deter geese drowned after he was attacked by a pair of nesting swans when his kayak toppled.

Last year, Pennsylvania’s goose population was estimated at 220,000 and growing, along with droppings.

“We created our own problem,” said John Dunn, chief of game management for the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

In the 1930s, nonmigratory “giant” Canada geese – native to Indiana and Illinois – were introduced to Pennsylvania for hunting and to bolster the dwindling migratory flocks, Dunn said.

Humane methods for goose control include loud noises, installing cutouts or blowups of natural predators, applying repellents to lawns, and nest and egg destruction. Landscape techniques have been effective: Geese love short well-kept lawns, but shy away from long grassy areas where they can’t see.

Another option is the border collie.

“We are crazy busy,” said Brandon Schaaf of Langhorne-based Geese Management. “This always works.”

The company employs 17 border collies that chase birds in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland. “They want to herd, not hurt,” Schaaf said.

Schaaf said he had contracts with about 20 locations where swans and geese coexisting on the sites.

As for using swans for goose control, Elaine Schaefer, president of the Radnor Board of Commissioners, said she was unaware of problems. While the memo outlined the pros of using the birds, she said more study and public comment were needed.

Source: http://articles.philly.com/2013-06-21/news/40095857_1_mute-swans-canada-geese-geese-management


Ruling the roost

Many mothers struggle to adjust when their babies grow up and move away to university.

But one particularly protective mum was causing chaos on campus yesterday as she viciously attacked students trying to get back to their halls of residence.

The furious Canadian goose built her nest close to a block of student flats at the University of Warwick and then refused to let anyone pass while she waited for her eggs to hatch.

A surprised male student tries to make a run for it on campus at the University of WarwickAngry birds: A surprised male student tries to make a run for it on campus at the University of Warwick
The student was forced to make a dive for cover as the goose attacked, watched by its mate Undignified: The student was forced to make a dive for cover as the goose attacked, watched by its mate
One victim got a vicious pecking, photographed by engineering student Zhi Chow, who lives on the campus in CoventryOuch: One victim got a vicious pecking, photographed by engineering student Zhi Chow, who lives on the campus in Coventry

Terrified students were left too afraid to leave their homes after a series of aerial attacks from the goose who pecked, squawked and chased them.

Many were wearing headphones or talking on the phone and didn’t notice the goose’s warning hiss until it was too late.

Some were forced to run for cover as the angry birds attacked while others even threw themselves to the ground for protection.

Business Management student Zhi Chow, who lives on the campus in Coventry, West Mids, set up a camera to capture the siege.

A female student flees as one of the Canada geese dives at herIn a flap: A female student flees as one of the Canada geese dives at her
Another woman beats a swift retreat from the pathway near the restHissy fit: Another woman beats a swift retreat from the pathway near the rest

One picture shows a terrified man hurling himself to the ground, covering his head, as one goose launches at him from mid-air.

In another, one girl eyes up the bird sitting on the nest unaware that its mate is lurking behind her, ready to attack.

Mr Chow said: ‘I thought it was hilarious when I first saw people being chased by the geese.
‘It’s not so funny when you’re walking past them though.

 A frightened girl hangs on to her shopping as she runs past the protected nestDuck, duck, goose: A frightened girl hangs on to her shopping as she runs past the protected nest
The goslings have now hatchedProud mother: The goslings have now hatched, but she is still keeping a watchful eye

‘They’re terrifying – the birds are so big and they’ll clearly stop at nothing to protect their eggs. ‘My bedroom window looks out directly onto their nest, so I set up a camera to capture the attacks so I could show my friends.

‘Lots of people have started avoiding the area as word spreads about the geese.

‘There have always been a lot of geese on campus here, but I’ve never seen any as angry as this.’

The mother goose’s efforts to protect her young were rewarded last night when her goslings finally hatched.

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2327212/Terrorised-protective-mother-goose-Students-forced-run-cover-birds-looking-eggs.html#ixzz2WlfHMA9n

Bird blizzard

More than a million snow geese take flight over the skies of Missouri – creating the illusion of a blizzard – in these awe-inspiring pictures. The spectacle was captured in Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge as the birds began their annual summer migration back to the Arctic tundra found in Greenland, Canada, and Alaska. Groups of birds numbering between 100 and 1,000 make the journey together alongside others, their swooping mass blotting out large swathes of sky.

Epic: The snow geese take flight at Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge in Missouri. More than a million birds take refuge there as they migrate northEpic: The snow geese take flight at Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge in Missouri. More than a million birds take refuge there as they migrate north
Migrant: The birds breed in Greenland, Canada, Alaska and Siberia but summer in warmer climes throughout North AmericaMigrant: The birds breed in Greenland, Canada, Alaska and Siberia but summer in warmer climes throughout North America
Glorious: Groups of birds numbering between 100 and 1,000 can make the journey togetherGlorious: Groups of birds numbering between 100 and 1,000 can make the journey together

Photographer Doug French, from Nebraska, captured the jaw-dropping scenes earlier this year. He said: ‘This flock of more than one million geese were seen leaving the refuge early in the morning at sun rise. ‘At times more than 100,000 geese would erupt from the lake in a solid white and black wall of geese and the sound of their wing beats would drown out everything else. ‘You could not see through these giant walls of geese.’

Veil: The snow geese take to the sky in their hundreds of thousands, forming a barrier that cannot be seen throughVeil: The snow geese take to the sky in their hundreds of thousands, forming a barrier that cannot be seen through
Photographer Doug French, from Nebraska, captured the scenes arlier this yearPhotographer Doug French, from Nebraska, captured the scenes earlier this year
Tourists: Some vagrant geese make it as far afield as ScotlandTourists: Some vagrant geese make it as far afield as Scotland

Air traffic control: The area is known as the Central Flyway due to the high volume of birds. Right, a close-up of a snow goose in mid-flight

Flying symphony: In the background thousands of birds can be seen blanketing the surface of the lakeFlying symphony: In the background thousands of birds can be seen blanketing the surface of the lake
The area is popular with the lesser snow geese because they can feed on the abundant corn and sorghum

The area is popular with the lesser snow geese because they can feed on the abundant corn and sorghum. The photographer described the scenes as ‘magnificent’

The area is popular with the lesser snow geese because its rich agricultural land provides an abundance of corn and sorghum. After feeding in the area – known as the Central Flyway due to the high volume of birds – the geese eventually head north in April and May to their Arctic breeding grounds. Mr French added: ‘The spectacle of seeing this number of snow geese in one area was truly magnificent to see and hear.’

The birds mate for life The birds mate for life, usually in their second year, although breeding does not usually start until the third year.
Snow goose females are strongly drawn to the place they hatched when they want to breedSnow goose females are strongly drawn to the place they hatched when they want to breed
Lake placid: The birds clump together on the surface of the lakeLake placid: The birds clump together on the surface of the lake
As well as being an incredible sight to behold, the sound the massed birds make is also said to be spine-tinglingAs well as being an incredible sight to behold, the sound the massed birds make is also said to be spine-tingling
Photographer Doug French said: 'The spectacle of seeing this number of snow geese in one area was truly magnificent to see and hear'Photographer Doug French said: ‘The spectacle of seeing this number of snow geese in one area was truly magnificent to see and hear’
Escape to the sun: Snow geese winter in warm parts of North America from southwestern British Columbia through parts of the United States to MexicoEscape to the sun: Snow geese winter in warm parts of North America from southwestern British Columbia through parts of the United States to Mexico
Final approach: Two birds fly in to land in the floating crowdFinal approach: Two birds fly in to land in the floating crowd

He added: ‘It is one of Mother Nature’s must see events.’ Snow geese breed north of the timberline in Greenland, Canada, Alaska, and the northeastern tip of Siberia, and winters in warm parts of North America from southwestern British Columbia through parts of the United States to Mexico. Occasionally some make their way to Europe. Snow Geese are visitors to the British Isles where they are seen regularly among flocks of Barnacle, Brent and Greenland white-fronted geese. There is also a feral population in Scotland.

Snow geese nests often fall prey to Arctic foxes and skuas, a type of seabirdSnow geese nests often fall prey to Arctic foxes and skuas, a type of seabird
Formation: The snow geese take to the sky en masseFormation: The snow geese take to the sky en masse
This incredible picture gives an impression of a blizzard as the birds swirl upwardsThis incredible picture gives an impression of a blizzard as the birds swirl upwards
Covered: The water is almost completely covered by the massed creaturesCovered: The water is almost completely covered by the massed creatures
The breeding population has increased by more than 300 per cent since the mid-1970sThe breeding population has increased by more than 300 per cent since the mid-1970s
Maelstrom: A chaotic scene as the birds rise into the sky as oneMaelstrom: A chaotic scene as the birds rise into the sky as one
Snow Geese travel through the Central Flyway, across some of the richest farmland in AmericaSnow Geese travel through the Central Flyway, across some of the richest farmland in America
Soaring: The snow gooe often nests in colonies. The female selects a nest site and builds the nest on an area of high groundSoaring: The snow gooe often nests in colonies. The female selects a nest site and builds the nest on an area of high ground
Ballet: The graceful mass movements on the geese are a must-see spectacle for nature loversBallet: The graceful mass movements of the geese are a must-see spectacle for nature lovers

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2346886/Bird-blizzard-More-million-snow-geese-blot-sky-make-epic-journey-Arctic-tundra.html#ixzz2XE5ANf8c

A dozen geese slaughtered in Inwood Hill Park

Exported.;

Canada geese like these were slaughtered in Inwood Hill Park early this morning.

Bird lovers in Inwood Hill Park were horrified Wednesday morning to learn that about a dozen Canada geese and goslings were rounded up and killed in the name of aviation safety.

The massacre was first reported by GooseWatch NYC, a watchbird group that was created after a much larger slaughter in Prospect Park in 2010.

“I’m in tears,” said Inwood resident Suzanne Soehner, a GooseWatch volunteer.

Soehner also complained that no advance notification was provided for the cover-of-darkness killing.

“This morning marks another dark day for wildlife in city parks,” said David Karopkin, founder and director of GooseWatch NYC. “New York City has contracted with USDA Wildlife Services, an agency known for its cruelty to animals and secrecy.”

City officials have defended the periodic killing of geese — called “culling” — as necessary to protect air traffic at LaGuardia and Kennedy airports. The city contracts out the actual killing to USDA wildlife officials.

Public enemy number one? This goose (right, with duck), photographed this week in Inwood Hill Park, is now dead, thanks to a federal massacre of Canada geese in the name of aviation safety.

Public enemy number one? This goose (right, with duck), photographed this week in Inwood Hill Park, is now dead, thanks to a federal massacre of Canada geese in the name of aviation safety.

United States Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Carol Bannerman declined to provide an exact number of victims of Wednesday’s killing, but reiterated that Inwood Hill Park is within the seven-mile bird-free zone that officials believe is necessary to protect planes.

“Canada geese are among the top five hazardous species or groups of birds to aviation,” Bannerman said. “Goose-aircraft strikes aren’t common (but) more than half are with multiple geese and three-quarters have an effect on the flight or cause damage.”

That said, there were 1,400 confirmed goose strikes between 1990 and 2012, or roughly 116 a year. But there are an estimated 87,000 flights per day, meaning bird strikes occur in one out of every 270,000 flights.

Lightning strikes airliners more often.

Still, goose strikes have been charged with bringing down aircraft. The Prospect Park goose slaughter, for example came after the famed “Miracle on the Hudson” safe landing of a US Airways plane by Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger in January, 2009 — a landing allegedly necessitated by a bird strike.

Geneviève Mathis, local member of Goose Watch NYC, said she cried when she saw the killing field.

Geneviève Mathis, local member of Goose Watch NYC, said she cried when she saw the killing field.

The bird-free zone was expanded to seven miles around each airport after that near fatal crash.

Opponents say that culling does not solve the problem because other geese return to fill the bird-less vacuum.

“When you cull geese, they get replaced,” said Ken Paskar, president of Friends of LaGuardia Airport and a former lead safety representative for the FAA.

“Aviation safety is being used as an excuse to kill the birds.”

The slaughter in Inwood Hill Park marks the start of the USDA killing season. Typically, agents capture and kill geese during the summer molt when they can’t fly.

“The geese are herded into a temporary enclosure, carried by hand to poultry crates and transported to a commercial processing facility,” said Bannerman. “The meat will be donated to food charities.”

In 2012, Bannerman said, the 290 geese collected at city properties yielded 258 pounds of meat to charities upstate, near the goose processing plants.

Source: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/uptown/feds-kill-geese-inwood-hill-park-article-1.1376833#ixzz2WlF5D1Sx