Scarsdale's Geese Extermination Plan Upsets Bird Advocates

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A long line of bird advocates wait to talk to the Scarsdale Board of Trustees.
A long line of bird advocates wait to talk to the Scarsdale Board of Trustees. Photo Credit: Zak Failla

SCARSDALE, N.Y. – Bird advocates from around the tri-state area were in Scarsdale on Tuesday night to contest the village’s proposed plan to kill a gaggle of Canadian geese that resides at the pond near the public library.


Do You Support The Village's Decision To Exterminate Geese?

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Do You Support The Village's Decision To Exterminate Geese?

  • Yes, it's a necessary evil.

  • No, there are more humane solutions to the problems.

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At the Board of Trustees meeting, members of the community, as well as affiliates with animal rights organizations, offered Mayor Miriam Levitt Flisser and Village Manager Alfred Gatta alternative options to deal with the geese problem.

Bronxville resident Loraine Izzo said the village should do more research before disposing the geese.

“I’m appalled and dismayed that the village of Scarsdale, such a progressive village, would resort to extermination practices,” she said. “We need to coexist with wildlife, not just destroy it when it gets in our way.”

After each advocate spoke, there was a round of applause from other audience members in support. Scarsdale resident Kim Gold said that one of her children started a petition at school that garnered nearly 250 signatures from elementary students.

“These are not the values I feel we stand for as a community, and this is not the way we should handle our problems,” she said. “We’re a resourceful, intelligent community. There are non-violent solutions right in front of us, but we’re choosing an ineffective method.”

Alternate solutions included using a border collie to scare the geese – which was unsuccessful in the area a few years ago – growing tall grass near the water, piercing eggs and treating nests. Vendors from Long Island and Connecticut even used the forum to promote products that they’ve invented that have been used to scare geese off in their hometowns.

“You can implement non-lethal, humane ways of goose dissuasion,” Anne Muller, a member of the Wildlife Watch in New Paltz said. “We urge you to follow suit and to give up the notion of killing. Try the many alternatives, it will spare the community all of the dissention you hear right now.”

Robert Phillips, who has lived in Scarsdale for 50 years, said he understands why the geese can’t seem to stay away.

“If you take everyone out of the slums in New York City, they would fill back up the next year. All we’re doing is killing and slaughtering the animals for no good reason,” he said. “I was here when the geese used to come and go, they found it so nice that, like myself, they decided to stay.”

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Comments (11)

Please take heart from the Bend, Oregon, experience. After a surprise mass extermination in June 2010, concerned citizens organized, spoke at park board hearings, and launched a petition drive--gathering 1000 signatures in favor of exclusive use of nonlethal alternatives.
For the first time in its history, the Park District began using state of the art techniques: Relying on an enthusiastic volunteer response from the community, a first time use of a diligent egg oiling effort, and the correct use of border collies, 3 years (so far) have gone by without any more killing.
We have found that trained border collies who don't just chase the geese to the shore, but who actually jump in and swim after them are the most effective. They are supplemented by community members who walk their dogs on leash through the park conflict zones.
These cost-effective, non-controversial, sustainable techniques bring about almost immediate results and have proven effective in the long term.
Business owners here also expressed concern in this tourist driven economy that Bend should not become known as the city that exterminates its wildlife.
Foster, Bend, Oregon

Nowhere does this article mention the existence of a machine that is designed specifically to clean up goose poop. It's called NatureSweep.

Use this in conjunction with other methods, and your problem is solved, Scarsdale. Killing the geese will just open it up for more geese to move in. Then you will have to kill more. NatureSweep is cheaper than having Fish & Wildlife come in repeatedly to exterminate the geese.

Have a heart, Scarsdale, these animals are strongly bonded and highly family oriented. Give them a chance, buy the NatureSweep!

After doing some research on this issue, it seems clear that Scarsdale has been presented with many other humane options. It also seems clear that most residents like the geese, and that problems of poop and population can be addressed without killing. Furthermore, it seems abundantly clear that killing geese is not effective AT ALL. They have no excuse.

What is wrong with people? If a sterile environment is what you want, then move into a high-rise in the city and have fun gazing at concrete and asphalt and gagging on vehicle exhaust. If you live in the suburbs around nature, then deal with it.

Naturelover: WONDERFUL, well-thought out comments. I totally agree. Thank you!!

I enjoy seeing the geese. They remind me that there's something natural left in this world. Obviously most of Scarsdale like the geese too. Who said, "Let's kill them all"? Leave them in peace right where they are. Leave the geese alone, please.

There is no such thing as a Goose problem. It's a people problem.

I sooooo agree.........

It is hoped that the officials of Scarsdale heed the effective and humane suggestions offered to them for goose population management.

For years, habitat modification, egg addling and occasional Border Collie hazing has been used in Central Park. This has resulted in a low resident goose population. -- So much so, that harassment has not had to be conducted for the last year and a half. Nor, has Central Park signed on to any lethal culls of geese by USDA.

There are effective and humane measures for peacefully living with wildlife. There is even a machine (NatureSweep) that effectively cleans up grasses of all kinds of debris, including goose droppings.

There is no excuse not to use these.

Scarsdale can choose to allign itself with the barbaric, archaic and intolerant.

Or, it can do the right thing.

I hope that Scarsdale officials take your comments to heart.

I couldn't have said it better....Konrad Lorenz would be proud.....