by F. Portmann
NYC Audubon believes that lethal control should be the last resort after all other methods for managing bird populations have been exhausted. The blanket approach of lethal control will not significantly reduce the risk birds pose to aviation safety. We maintain that City officials should reduce the amount of lush, green lawn space available throughout the city, which attracts geese. Without such measures, new geese will take up residence here and populations will quickly rebound to current levels. The City may also limit growth of the resident geese population through egg-addling or nest destruction.
NYC Audubon also takes issue with the target population size identified by the Department of Agriculture, which calls for reducing the number of Canada geese in the city by 80 percent. This figure is not supported by sound scientific research. The summer 2010 cull at Prospect Park included nearly 100 percent of the geese in that area; essentially, this population was “managed” into extinction. NYC Audubon strongly disagrees with that decision.
When one species becomes so abundant that it has a negative impact on the habitat and resources of other native bird species as may be the case with Canada geese, NYC Audubon, like most Audubon chapters, supports population management. But the option of lethal control should be a last resort, undertaken only when bird populations threaten the health, safety, and welfare of other wildlife and humans, and only after a rigorous environmental impact assessment has been done and full disclosure has been made to local citizens and other stakeholders.
What You Can Do to Help
If you share NYC Audubon’s opinion that the City should develop a more scientifically sound plan for managing Canada geese, please make your voice heard! You can help us reach our goal of having 1,000 people register formal complaints with the City. All you have to do is call 311 (or 212-NEW-YORK from outside of NYC) and register a complaint. There are several important things to remember when phoning 311 with your complaint:
- When registering a complaint, its important to say that you would like to "register an opinion with the Mayor." 311 may encourage you to submit the complaint through an email address or via mail, but it is possible to register an opinion through 311, and NYC Audubon has confirmed this several times with 311 supervisors. The more people who phone to register a complaint, the more familiar 311 operators will likely become handling this type of complaint.
- It's possible that 311 operators will attempt to categorize your complaint. The appropriate category for this type of issue is "Environment."
- It's possible that 311 operators will ask you about the date and time of the incident. Its ok to say you're not exactly sure, and to ask that they use today's date and time for their form.
- If you encounter any challenges registering your complaint, please phone 212-691-7483
With your support, NYC Audubon can encourage City officials to engage with us in drafting a better plan for managing Canada geese in New York City.