“B. Swift Ridding the Skies of Geese”

In Conscious, Goose, Searing, Spring on May 13, 2011 at 7:55 pm

The health care bill was thousands of pages.  But two reports, one of 9 pages, Ridding the New York Skies of Geese, and one of 7 pages,  Goose Removal Report, are the sole background for what may have just wiped out the last remaining population of Canadian Geese.

Apparently the committee writing the report had so little reverence for either geese or public opinion, that not only did they fabricate numbers of existing geese out of thin air, but they fabricated a straw man,  “B. Swift” who came up with the fictional bird count.

“B. Swift” is a cruel joke=”be swift.”    This is the “guy” who is to “be swift ridding the New York skies of geese.”

The “New York Officials” are literally a bunch of juveniles sitting around a table making up funny names while openly flaunting any ecological principles.  Slapping citizen groups, local politicians, park employees, biologists, and academia in the face, and assuming no one is going to ever read their flimsy report justifying a slaughter happening with no accountability.

Alice Speri wrote a NYTimes CityBlog post on February 8, 2011, noting 1,676 Geese Died for Human Travel Last Year)

“In June and July 2010, the U.S.D.A.’s Wildlife Services observed 1,877 geese in 19 sites across the city and western Nassau and removed 89 percent of them, the report stated.”

So the 1 or 2 geese you see in the photo at Prospect Park being harassed by collies may be the last you see.

Speri’s claim that the numbers “rebounded quickly” to 150 observed geese have no evidence–rebounded from what, over what period time? The tables show they literally killed 90% of the geese, and only 200 were left.

Unfortunately, the reason the geese are “resident” is because some of them never learned to migrate because they are descendants of geese whose wings were clipped to prevent them from escaping in the 1900s–hunters used them as decoys.  Since migration is a learned behavior, the offspring never learned, since their parents could not fly–from GeesePeace, From Awe to Awful and Back

Yet other banded Geese cited in the article flew as far away as Virginia, which means they should rightfully be protected under the now unenforced Migratory Bird Protection Act of 1918.

Read this opening paragraph of the report:

So these fraternal boys on the board,  under the rubric of the  fictional, B. Swift, declare from their perch,  that the geese are “five times the amount that most people would find socially acceptable.”    Never mind that the geese and their advocates see this board with no public oversight as the truly socially unacceptable.

The report cites poop and recreational nuisance as well as threat to aviation as the main justifications for the program…Again, with not a whit of biological consultation.   It cites the “decreased grazing on turf grass” as a benefit of extermination, not thinking that they will have to do more mowing. And the fecal contamination issue is no more a problem than it has ever been. Poop is fertilizer, and this is how animals on farms have lived for centuries. (See subsequent reader comments with academic sources)

The private group called to do the killing, Goose Busters , also cites no consultation with wildlife specialists.   Privatization is great–who needs government workers, just call in a for profit company to eliminate the nuisance.  Forget the chain of nature and the cycle of life!

Kids, don’t bother to get your conservation degree.  Save yourselves a lifetime of debt.  It is obviously useless when “federal authorities” sweep in with a private company, overriding local control.

“The killings last July took many by surprise. Prospect Park employees said they were not consulted in the decision, which was made by city, state and federal officials. “We came in and there were no geese,” said John Jordan, the park’s natural resources supervisor.

Community groups and politicians were outraged. Two Brooklyn councilmen, Brad Lander and Stephen Levin, introduced legislation last month that would create a new citywide panel to oversee more humane wildlife management.”  Collies at Prospect Park

Most damning of all, the geese have no place to go, as suburban sprawl decimates former nesting sites, resting places, watering holes, migratory rest stops, and mating grounds.   This tiny oasis in a concrete jungle in the middle of NYC is all they have…where are the “barking collies” supposed to shoo them to?

The Supreme Court is no longer on the side of the birds, either:

“On January 9, 2001 the US Supreme Court, in a split vote of 5 to 4, (Solid Waste Agency, of Skokie, Illinois vs US Army Corps of Engineers threw out what has been dubbed the Migratory bird rule[3] A case that pitted a consortium of towns around Chicago over isolated wetlands, inhabited or visited by over 100 migratory bird species, against the US Army Corps of Engineers. In this case, Skokie, Ill. wanted abandoned quarries filled with water, but not connected to another or navigable body of water to serve as a site for a solid waste facility. For the previous 15 years lower courts had sustained the law in favor of migratory birds, siding with the Army Corps. The new Federal ruling has proved disastrous[4].”

Migratory Bird Act of 1918

This, on the anniversary of the Gulf of Mexico/ BP oil spill photos of all the beautiful pelicans, egrets, seagulls, spoonbills, and thousands of shorebirds frying to death helplessly in oil, not dying fast enough as they were unable to fly or eat.  I can’t imagine any greater torture.

I conclude with more reader comments that say it all.  Yet the fact that 0-7 people recommend the handful of comments written in the first place show how few people are paying attention.   This is truly happening with no public notice.

But I sure have not seen any geese here this Spring.  I saw only one formation last fall, and it was flying in a Y, not a V.

Sorry to the generation of 1918 that created the Migratory Bird Protection Act: we goofed.  You tried to save the birds, but, since 2001, we decided we need golf courses and parks full of pesticides instead, so that rinky dink private companies like Goose Busters can make a tiny profit for a few employees for a few years.  Never mind 100 years of arduous efforts towards conservation to recoup the losses that occurred when Europeans first invaded North America, decimating Native Americans and wildlife alike.

May 6th, 2011
1:20 pm
Where is the figure “40-50” geese coming from when the photo only shows TWO geese on an entire EMPTY lake being harassed?It seems the first casualty of any war — including our war on wildlife — is the truth.Last year, we decimated the Canada goose population in NYC. This year we exterminate it.Is that the goal?It will surely be the result.As the writer asks: “Where will the geese go?”

There is in fact, NO place the geese can go in NYC where they will NOT be gassed, shot at or harassed.

That spells “management to extinction.”

Recommended Recommended by 7


May 6th, 2011
1:35 pm
@ 2eachhisown: Yes, the geese almost went extinct in the last century due to OVERHUNTING and destruction of habitat. Then, we attempted to restore the population of geese as a “game bird” hunting target.Their natural habitat is still destroyed or deciminated which explains why the geese are fleeing to public parks for survival and safety from their #1 predator, human hunters.But, we gas and harass them in city parks.And you advocate to hunt them even more.The road to extinction is paved by human blindness and stupidity.
Recommended Recommended by 4 Readers
Johanna Clearfield
May 6th, 2011
2:33 pm
March 26, 2010, Prospect Park area residents came together to join hands in a symbolic gesture to PROTECT and to NURTURE the wildlife in our beautiful park.http://handsacrossprospectpark.wordpress.com/2011/03/27/hands-around-the…The USDA’s subdivision, Orwellian – named, “Wildlife Services” is responsible for legitimizing the most horrific massacre of wildlife across the country, including thousands of bobcats, otters, beavers, starlings and of course – GEESE.This undemocratic purging our our wildlife — with no actual facts to support a need for said slaughter and/or “reduction in numbers” — comes out of the most nihilstic and myopic of motives. Developers have long fought any conservation or preservation efforts on behalf of the mighty dollar. Protected species (Canada geese have just recently fallen off of this list) impeded development.In addition, For-profit activities in the public parks – including large showings of big screen outdoor movies and/or raucous concerts which damage wildlife have often been hindered.There has been no consensus among the neighbors of Prospect Park nor any other of these parks which mandate the reduction and/or the killing of our wildlife. This is a completely tyranical move on the part of “wildlife services.” and the Dept. of Health which — for everyone’s information — was formed in order to do one thing: KILL off animals.

With untold (possibly millions) of our wildlife destroyed in the recent man-made disasters (Japan’s nuclear reactor and the BP oil holocaust against the Gulf of Mexico) we need to be THANKFUL and even Reverent toward what wildlife we are lucky enough to enjoy.

Here is a link to the fact sheet that describes what the “wildlife services” has done to our country’s vulnerable, unprotected creatures. Wonderful and completely defenseless against the iron grip of profit grubbing men.


Right now the only way to make your voice heard is to call your local reps and senators and also “311” to complain to the mayor about this new harrassment policy .

We, THE PEOPLE, of NYC — Do not want it. We do not need it. Turning our parks into a battlefield between dogs and birds destroys the purpose of the park entirely. It should be a Sanctuary . A place of peace.



Recommended Recommended by 4 Readers

Ted Heeley
San Francisco
May 6th, 2011
2:34 pm
Mayor Bloomberg let’s his constituents think they will be safer in the air by ridding the city of geese and other birds. We live on the Atlantic Flyway, thousands of years of migrating birds pass through here. Why not adjust to them by using available bird radar and mapping migration routes to avoid potential strikes?Prospect Park is more than 7 miles away from the airports, why is this not being addressed? The birds that flight 1549 flew into were 5000 feet up and were migratory from Labrador Canada not from Prospect Park.I understand that the park is under pressure to do something to avoid another gassing…but…I am waiting for the day when wildlife will eventually have the last laugh.
Recommended Recommended by 8 Readers

Just thought I would share –

RE: Health risks of Geese
-Goose droppings actually pose no risk of infection, said Tome Baptist, executive director of Audubon Connecticut. No Scientific study has ever linked goose droppings with infection in human beings, Baptist said.”

Christopher W. Olsen, DVM, Ph.D.Professor of Public Health
School of Veterinary Medicine
University of Wisconsin-Madison
-”While geese may be either mechanical disseminators or actual carriers of these organisms, the level of risk that they pose remains to be determined. In addition, particularly in the case of Giardia, research suggests that some strains of the organism may be restricted to animals and distinct from strains that infect humans.”

Dr. Milton Friend
(Former Director)
Wildlife Research Center, Waterfowl Disease
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
-”On occasion we have been wading in that stuff, dead birds up to our elbows. There is not a single documented case of any of us coming down with any kind of a disease problem as a result of Canada geese. We do not have a human health situation, not in the urban goose, not in the wild goose, not in the captive geese that we have also worked with. We do have a lot of diseases out there that can affect people; most of them come from different places and do not come from the Canada goose, and I’ll leave you with that.
(Panel Presentation transcript – 1993)

Dr. Timothy Ford**
Microbiology Dept. of Environmental Health
Harvard School of Public Health
-”Numbers of Cryptosporidium oocysts associated with Canada geese and waterfowl in general are likely to be minimal, unimportant, relative to the potential for oocysts shed from other forms of wildlife and humans. In my mind, there is no possibility that the Canada goose will ever be a major route of infection. To suggest otherwise is utterly ludicrous, and you can quote me.”

**Author of Microbiological Safety of Drinking Water: United States and Global Perspective (1999)

— Georgette
  1. 93. February 11, 2011 8:18 am Link

    So, “Wildlife Services” gassed 89% of the geese observed in our city parks last year and this year are going after more?

    That sounds like extinction to me.

    In fact, extinction of the entire resident goose population in Prospect Park last summer is what occurred — right down to the two “celebrity” geese, Target and Beaky. Even they were not spared government cruelty after surviving pedestrian cruelty. (Sure, there are geese in the park now, but they are most likely migratory geese who will fly back north before the start of spring — that is, if allowed to.)

    Thanks to Mayor Doombird, Christine Quinn and “Wildlife (Extermination) Services” for insuring that our children will not have the luxury of seeing and enjoying the wonder of gentle waterfowl in our city parks.

    Better that our kids be “connected” to electronic devices than anything real and living.

    — PattyA

Right on , PattyA #93,

The way this world is headed, we will no longer need to connect with anything other than our hand held devices.

There will one day be a large crash…and it won’t be an airliner falling out of the sky due to a peaceful flock of geese who are just doing what comes naturally.

— Leonore

@ Lenore

You are so correct.

It has recently been reported that the City Council will be considering a proposal that will cost $10 million of taxpayer money to install Wi Fi capability in our City parks.

Its also been reported that $100,000 taxpayer money was spent to gas the geese in our parks.

So, picture this scene:

Hundreds of thousands of people sitting around parks, tapping away on their electronic devices totally oblivious to everything else that is around them.

Hey, we may as well kill all the squirrels, robins, sparrows and whatever else dares to breathe besides humans in our parks.

We are fast becoming The Twilight Zone.

— PattyA


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