Scarsdale Continues To Search For Canada Goose Solution

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Scarsdale officials will continue to search for a way to remove Canada geese from the pond near the library. Photo Credit: File

SCARSDALE, N.Y. – Following outrage from animal rights activists around the country, Scarsdale officials will continue to investigate options to remove Canada geese from the pond near the public library.

The village initially planned to contract with the United States Department of Agriculture to exterminate the goose population that befouls the pond with droppings. That decision drew the ire of residents and animal rights groups alike, leading village officials to re-evaluate the plan.

Village Manager Alfred Gatta said officials haven’t made any decision on what to do about the geese, but are looking at other options.

“A few [alternative] options have been brought to our attention that we have not tried or known about before,” he said. “It appears to be reasonable to look at them further.”

Gatta said that the village might attempt to modify the habitat by allowing grass to grow longer, which would make it a less appealing environment for mating. They may also use an OvoControl-G birth control feed for geese. They hope to find a solution by the late spring.

“We’ve tried a number of alternatives in the past and have not been successful to this point,” he said. “I must admit that the animal advocates are committed, impassioned and somewhat effective.”

Members of the community, as well as affiliates with animal rights organizations from around the tri-state area, offered Mayor Miriam Levitt Flisser and Gatta alternative options to deal with their problem at a Jan. 22 Board of Trustees meeting.

They proposed methods such as utilizing border collies, a faux-predatory bird, altering the habitat and using noisemakers.

“That meeting was informative and a benefit to myself and village employees,” Gatta said. “The story that got my attention was the woman from Long Island that witnessed the rounding up, boxing and separation of geese. The crying and honking was very sad to hear.”

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Comments (11)

btock:

My husband and I were driving on I 84 and had just crossed the Hudson River ( I believe it was the Hudson). He had just said look at the geese! As I looked, they seemed confused and were trying to land. One got hit and another looked like it was trying to help his fallen friend. It was a very upsetting scene to witness. I was wondering if this happens frequently on this route and why the birds were trying to land in such a horrible place.....We live in a rural area in TN and they are frequent "guests" on our property. I am always awestruck by their beauty which is another reason I found today's experience so very upsetting.

JerryCarroll:

Yeah even I agree the Best option is just too leave the Goose alone.
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stephen.sepe:

I taught in the science department at Scarsdale High School for 21 years and am recently retired. If you don't know the area, the pond in question is adjacent to the library and also the High School. The geese there are part of the life of the school. They would nest there and provide the students direct contact to nature. I would often talk about the geese in my classes, and really felt they were an important vehicle for teaching respect for life. The very idea of doing harm to any of these animals is appalling, and I don't understand that the powers that be would even contemplate such a measure.

Marion Lynne:

Pave the pond. Obviously the whiners can't handle any living things in the pond so why do you have it? This is pathetic. I live in Vancouver, BC; this city is now the most expensive city in North America to live in; it is constantly also on the most liveable cities in the world to live in lists, ; and was also named the most reputable city in the world this year. And we HAVE GEESE, lots of geese. What is wrong with you people? The world seems to be going to hell in a handbasket and you have your panties in a knot because you can't stand geese in your pathetic pond?
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PattyA:

Very good comments to which I will only add that it is hoped this community can nurture tolerance and appreciation of the geese in addition to this "need" to control" their population.

Geese are important to other wildlife and are a part of any environment that contains water, short grass and open space. If the community wants to contain the number of geese, then habitat modification is a must.

Central Park has modified habitat that allows a small population of geese to stay all year, while discouraging breeding in most areas.

As noted there are in fact many humane and effective options for managing the geese.

What should NOT be among them is a terrifying roundup and slaughter conducted by the USDA.

Such are the actions of barbarians.

fosterfell:

Just to reiterate, the Bend, Oregon, experience can be a guide for Scarsdale.
For the past three years, using exclusively nonlethal methodology, population levels have been stabilized and complaints have plummeted. Bend Bulletin, Oct. 6, 2011: "Nearly two years of intensive hazing has pushed the number of Canada geese living in Bend's parks down by as much as 90 percent over previous highs." August 19, 2011, memo sent from Bend Parks District to USDA Wildlife Services: "This week was the shortest goose poop clean up day in history of the parks. Drake's beach and paver walkways were not slick with feces. . . Thanks for all of your work. It is making my crew's work much easier. The public is verbalizing good comments." We are using primarily two techniques, but doing them conscientiously and consistently: (1) Egg oiling (along with alerting the public to disclose where goose nests are located). (2) Dog hazing--and this is important: The trained border collie must chase the geese into the water AND SWIM IN AFTER THEM. We have no lack of citizen volunteers willing to walk their dogs on leash through the park conflict areas. The very best resource for more information is Humane Society USA. Way to go Scarsdale! You have great public officials. Alfred Gatta is to be commended for being open minded and willing to consider alternatives.
Foster Fell, Bend, Oregon

Marion Lynne:

I'm sorry but using dogs is little better then killing the geese. If one community can't coexist with geese what kind of thinking is it that assumes the community the geese flee to will want to coexist with them? And why are dogs better then geese? A community like Bend may have a successful addling program but if the community next to them forces their geese out and they flee to Bend there goes the successful egg addling program. It is ridiculous humans can't coexist with some geese.

skanney:

i live in scarsdale and am glad they are reconsidering. it seems so strange to me to kill an animal simply because you don't like dealing with its excrement. imagine what would happen if we held humans to the same standards. from my contact with people in this town, it seems there are far more people who like the geese. but any of the gentler forms of "guidance" for the animals would probably be fine...

pat.nelson.37:

One great option is to just leave the Geese alone.

Mary Lou Simms:

That's what we did at our lake. We decided, as a community, to let our geese be, and encourage volunteer involvement. Now everyone is bonded to the geese whose presence has proven to be a great benefit to the community. The killing doesn't work anyway. As soon as those geese are gone, there'll be 25 more in their place. Geese are constantly on the move. That's what wings are for. At our lake, we have our regulars -- about 20 geese who show up every few days or so but even they don't stay. I had a gander that I adored and gave him every imaginable treat to entice him to stay longer. It didn't work. When it was time to go, he left. I also couldn't tell you whether there are 200 geese or as many as 1000 over the course of a year at our lake. During the winter, we get geese that stop off for a few hours to graze and rest. Others stay a few days or show up once a year during the molt. When the feds kill during the molt, they're also killing geese that show up only at that time so the roundups resolve nothing. There'll be new geese within days.

naturelover:

Kudos to the Board for having compassion, and also humility to reconsider and look for alternative solutions to violence It is very easy to wield the word "kill" from the comfort of our homes, and quite another to witness the life of a living creature being taken. It is important to note that the tall grass needs to be around the perimeter of the pond, mainly to make the geese feel like their vision is blocked. They tend to like to dine on short, mowed grass, so letting it grow a bit might be a deterrent. Birth control, either through egg addling or Ovo control seems like a logical thing to maintain population at a manageable rate. I have to say, I like the geese. I live in Scarsdale, and it would be sad to see them leave the pond. I wonder why we can't just tolerate one flock that we administer birth control to. Last time I was at the pond there were just 9 geese. What is the matter with us as a community that we can't tolerate 9 geese.