When Capt. Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger III landed his crippled US Airways jet on the Hudson river in January 2009 he became a folk hero, and rightly so. But every hero needs a villain.
In this case, the goat was a bird—specifically, a few migrating Canada geese who flew into the engines of the A320 Airbus, taking them out and nearly causing the deaths of 155 flightless hominids.
Now these villains are getting their due. A mass kill recently took the lives of 400 Prospect Park geese—most of whom, according to experts, were probably locals, not geese likely to be soaring to meet their maker where the Boeings and Airbuses roam. But apparently, as in human relationships, it’s hard to tell the geese who are going to stick around from the fly-by-night variety. So all of the Prospect Park geese had to go. Authorities want to get rid of geese within a seven-mile radius of Kennedy and LaGuardia airports, and Prospect Park, unfortunately, is just within the limit. That, incidentally, appears to be an expansion of the five-mile radius announced prior to the Great Goose Kill of 2009.
Bereaved locals—the human kind, that is, including State Senator Eric Adams—held a vigil for the slaughtered birds over the weekend. A Humane Society representative called for a goose control program that would be “more humane, more effective, and more transparent” than rounding up popular animals in the middle of the night and killing them without any warning to the public.
May we suggest siccing this little girl on them? Give her a shot at one goose at a time. That would give the birds half a chance at least.
What we city dwellers tend to forget is that Canada geese are considered pests in many places, plaguing golf courses, riverbanks, and most importantly, farms. The roughly 3.6 million resident geese of the lower 48 states inflict millions of dollars of crop damage a year. These residents are heavier and lay more eggs than their migratory cousins, and they’re pretty stubborn.
Over 10,000 were killed in 2008 under approved plans, a drop in the bucket. So, while it was sad to see so many geese of Prospect Park go, I wouldn’t be surprised if a new population appeared pretty soon.
Now if only the Feds and the City could come up with a way to convert these killed geese into food for the homeless, or at least animal feed, instead of tossing them into a landfill.