Tag Archives: Canada Goose

County contracts to kill geese, bird lovers cry fowl


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

Click HERE to follow the debate and Like The Gazette on Facebook

Click HERE for video

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#


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

A dozen geese slaughtered in Inwood Hill Park


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

Geese Grow Faster with Loose Mix Feeding

FRANCE – A new study shows that growing geese can be fed loose-mix without adversely affecting their performance of feeding behaviour.

Based on their results, the researchers recommend loose-mix feeding for growing geese because it influenced their feed behaviour only slightly but increased the birds’ weight at the end of the growing period.

The aim of the trial, published recently in Poultry Science, was to study the influence of loose-mix feeding on behaviour, feed intake and bodyweight of growing geese.

First-named author, J. Arroyo from the University of Toulouse and co-authors with INRA and ASSELDOR explain that they divided 252 day-old geese (Anser anser) into two groups differing in the form of diet they received between 42 and 98 days of age (AMEn 11.55MJ per kg, crude protein 16 per cent): a complete pelleted diet containing 500g of sorghum per kg (control group) or a mixture containing 500g of protein-rich pellets and 500g of sorghum whole seeds per kg (mixed group).

Feed intake was measured daily from 42 to 48 days and every three days from 49 to 98 days. Individual bodyweight was measured weekly from 42 to 98 days. Goose behaviour was monitored by the scan sampling method throughout the experiment, which was divided into five periods according to the timing of access to feed: period 1 from 42 to 55 days (ad libitum feeding access), period 2 from 56 to 62 days (2 + 2 hours feeding access), period 3 from 63 to 70 days (2 hours feeding access), period 4 from 71 to 94 days (1 hour feeding access), and period 5 from 95 to 97 days (3 hours feeding access).

Over the whole period, the feed intake (13,968 and 14,480g) and the feed conversion ratio (8.53 and 8.15) were similar in both groups (P=0.112 and P=0.168; respectively).

Body weight was similar in both groups from 42 to 91 days of age but at 98 days of age, bodyweight was 3.7 per cent lower in the control than in the mixed group (P=0.006).

Goose behaviour was influenced by period because the percentage of birds feeding increased when the daily access time to the feed decreased (P<0.001) but not by group (P>0.05).


Arroyo J., A. Auvergne, J.P. Dubois, F. Lavigne, M. Bijja, C. Bannelier and L. Fortun-Lamothe. 2013. The influence of loose-mix feeding on behavior, feed intake, and body weight of growing geese. Poult. Sci. 92(6):1454-1460.  doi: 10.3382/ps.2012-02830
Source: http://www.thepoultrysite.com/poultrynews/29258/geese-grow-faster-with-loose-mix-feeding

Sitting ducks

Joyce Mori was just a newlywed in 1970 when she knew her marriage was for the birds – duck decoys, specifically.

Bill Mori took his bride on a memorable honeymoon across the Pacific Northwest and down to Colorado not in search of romantic hideaways but on the lookout for handcrafted wooden ducks once used by hunters to lure waterfowl within shooting range.

“We were stopping at every junk shop there was,” recalls Bill Mori, 85. “We were just learning.”

His collection now features 500 of the best duck decoys ever made. A retired Realtor and broker, Mori says the collection is worth every dollar he’s invested — and then some.

“I went crazy on these things,” he says. “I’d just as soon have decoys as a few extra dollars.”

Joyce Mori has long supported her husband’s passion, even dedicating display space in their living room for about 50 prized waterfowl.

At one point, the couple had 1,000 decoys in their home. By the time Bill Mori narrowed his collection to “quality, not quantity,” he’d become a go-to man for other collectors seeking information about carvers, styles and values.

In addition to his decoys, Mori has amassed about 400 books on the subject and has become something of an expert on duck decoys, widely valued as American folk art.

“I don’t want to sound like a braggart,” he says, “but I do know a lot about them.”

Born in the valley’s rural Vineburg region, Mori was just a teen when he and his older brother Carlos trekked to a “shack” near Skaggs Island where an old-timer carved decoys for duck hunters who frequented the nearby sloughs.

Mori remembers that the gravel-voiced man, Dick Janson, told the pair he’d carve the decoys if they provided the wood. The brothers returned with 25 old redwood railroad ties, which Janson crafted into a few dozen decoys.

At the time, Janson “was considered the greatest carver in California,” Mori says.

A Canada goose carved by Ben Schmidt in the 1940s, at left, and a Pacific brant carved by Paul Kenney in the 1930s. (Christopher Chung/The Press Democrat)

Janson charged the going rate back in 1944: $3 each or $36 for a dozen. Today collectible decoys go for a minimum of about $50 each – some topping a record $1 million for a lone bird.

Mori still has six of those Janson originals, which are among his favorites. He values the craftsmanship as well as the memory of an era long gone in Sonoma Valley.

Mori’s interest in collecting came at the urging of a few friends who were decoy collectors. The men shared resources and assisted one another, with a friendly competition keeping things lively.

“It was fun. It really was fun,” Mori says of his decades of collecting.

Today the duck hunter and decoy collector has one of the most impressive collections around, reportedly “the biggest collection west of the Mississippi,” Mori says.

Duck decoys date to the late 1800s, with early styles carved by hand to painstaking detail. Mori says the tradition began on the East Coast before moving west across the country.  Many antique decoys contain shot holes or grazes, which don’t necessarily lessen their value.

“All of them were made for hunting,” Mori says. “You don’t want a duck decoy that looks like it was just made.”

Although individual craftsmen continue the tradition today, there was a time when the demand for decoys opened the doors to factory productions. Artisans were employed to carve and paint the decoys for such factories as Mason’s Decoy Factory in Detroit, the most famous of the era in the late 1890s.

Mori knows all about the various grades of decoys by assessing the carving, painting variations (oil-based paints on the oldest decoys), even the kinds of eyes placed into the ducks, from tacks to realistic glass beads. The workmanship is part of the value and, as with most collections, the rarer the item, the greater its worth.

“It’s the reputation of the carver. His name gets around,” Mori says. “They were artists. It’s just like if you were buying art.”

Hand-carved decoys from the Mason Decoy Factory produced between 1900-1925. (Christopher Chung/ The Press Democrat)

The range of decoys is vast. There are puddle ducks and diving ducks, geese and swans. Some are hollow, others solid, some weighted, some not. While most collectible decoys are handcrafted of redwood, cedar, rosewood, balsawood and other timbers, some were made of canvas or cork, the contemporary ones even of plastic.

From pintails to mallards, hens and drakes, singles or in pairs, what does Mori notice first?

“I start with the good-looking ones, the old ones,” he says.

Each of his decoys is lifelike, almost all of them crafted to exact scale.

“They’re all life-size. Some were made oversize on purpose so the bird could see them from a distance,” he says. “If I put these out on the water I’d think they were real.”

Mori spent the past 45 years amassing his collection by attending decoy shows, rifling through thrift stores, junk shops and dusty old barns, reading want ads, making connections with fellow collectors, and finally, with the advent of the Internet, visiting online shops and auctions.

He once scored a handsome mallard drake in flight while checking his real estate listings in a Marin newspaper. He noticed an ad for a duck boat “and other things” under the miscellaneous offerings.

A phone call later, Mori was headed to Mill Valley to swap the requested $5 for the unwanted carving hanging in a little boy’s bedroom.

“I saw that thing and I couldn’t believe it. That was the best find I ever made,” Mori recalls.

Mori has received calls from museums, collectors and investors alike but has no interest in parting with any of his beloved birds. His decoy collection represents something more than money.

“We just love them. Joyce loves them, too,” he says. “I enjoy looking at the darn things. Even if they weren’t mine, they’re beautiful.”

Starting as souvenirs from a long-ago honeymoon, the ducks have steadily grown with the couple’s marriage.

Source: http://sonoma.towns.pressdemocrat.com/2013/06/news/duck-decoy-collection/

Geese given reprieve in Illinois

Geese 3, Getty Images, photo by John CancalosiSouthern Illinois University in Edwardsville won’t be capturing and killing geese after all because of local opposition to the harvest.

The Belleville News-Democrat reports the school announced Wednesday it would cull the campus’ population of the geese. University officials cited more than a dozen documented cases since March of the birds acting aggressively.

The plan was to humanely process the dozens of harvested geese into food products for the needy.

But hours after the plan was announced, it was called off after students and professors decried it as unethical and unnecessary. They encouraged non-lethal methods of addressing the situation.

SIU spokesman Doug McIlhagga says the university has tried to control the goose population by shaking the eggs so they don’t hatch. But that hasn’t worked.

Source: http://stlouis.cbslocal.com/2013/06/07/siu-edwardsville-calls-off-campus-geese-harvest/