Canada Geese: Love 'em or Hate 'em, Should We Kill 'em?

Canada Geese: Love 'em or Hate 'em, Should We Kill 'em?

Bloomberg, NY Port Authority and the USDA announced plans to kill 2,000 Canada Geese around NYC's airports.

Michele Berger
Published: 06/11/2009


Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services

Though I’m a self-proclaimed bird lover, I have to admit Canada geese don’t rank high on my list of favorite avian pals. They poop a lot, wander anywhere they choose, are kinda mean, and can’t seem to stop repopulating.

Even so, I have mixed emotions about new plans to kill 2,000 wild geese around NYC’s airports, announced today by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, and the USDA.

In an oxymoronic twist, the killings will be done “humanely,” according to a Bloomberg spokesman. “They have a method of herding them into a spot to where they’re then transported and humanely euthanized in a manner approved of by the American Veterinary Association,” the spokesman said, according to AFP.

Look, I get that the Canada goose population needs to decrease—a difficult-to-accomplish goal for a species with few natural predators. These birds have caused almost 1,200 bird strikes since January 1990, most of which occurred in the northeastern United States. Sixteen were reported at JFK, 32 at LaGuardia Airport. And I would certainly never put the life of a bird above a human life.

I guess I just don’t like the thought of killing 2,000 innocent anythings, especially those passing through, like the migrating Canada geese that caused the US Airways Airbus emergency Hudson River landing this past January. I’d just rather the city’s governing bodies focus on other efforts to keep Canada geese out of plane engines.

Luckily, they are—sort of.

The city plans to put up additional signs warning about the risks of feeding these birds and fill in a ditch at Rikers Island to discourage geese from living in a place just a hop, skip and jump away from LaGuardia.

The Port Authority also announced today it will install a bird radar pilot program at JFK, hire a second airport wildlife biologist, and bring on board an independent evaluator to review Wildlife Hazard Mitigation Plans for the three major NYC airports.

Of course, it’s also training its airport supervisors as ‘certified shotgun instructors’ so more people will know how to shoot the geese when necessary.