Secret Government Operations Slaughter Wild Geese

Did you know the federal government rounds up and kills Canada geese in New York City parks? Probably not, because officials don’t want you to know. They generally do not publicize these operations or solicit public comment about them.

That is your tax dollars at work, secretly slaughtering innocent wildlife when they are most vulnerable: during molting season, when they cannot fly for about six weeks, and when their baby goslings have hatched and must be protected.

Round-ups occur at parks and golf courses throughout the city. In the last two years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture rounded up and gassed to death 368 geese in just one Brooklyn park, Prospect Park. When not ambushed by federal officers and contractors, these birds live about 20 years.

They mate for life.

The government says it has to kill the geese not because they are doing or have done any harm, but because they might fly into a plane and cause an accident. When a plane’s engine, which sucks in air, also sucks in birds, their bodies can disable the engine. This is sometimes called “bird strike,” though it seems more like “plane strike” considering that the plane is traveling much faster and creating powerful suction as it goes.

The government’s extreme measures to kill geese create the appearance that bird strike is common and catastrophic, but the numbers show otherwise. Wipaire, Inc. Engineering Manager Dan Garrett says that “there are very very few crashes related to bird ingestion,” in part because the federal government has already enacted regulations that protect plane engines from the effects of sucking in birds and mulching their bodies.

There are alternatives to preventing bird ingestion. Two of these were implemented in Prospect Park in Brooklyn this year: goose eggs were oiled to prevent oxygen from reaching the embryos, and a border collie chased geese away. These methods are less than ideal because of the trauma they cause protective goose parents, but they did reduce the park’s bird population: only “about 23 adult geese” live in the park now, as opposed to the hundreds who used to make it their home.

Other alternatives to reducing goose populations include using bird radar and modifying the environment around airports.

Nevertheless, the publicly-funded, covert slaughters continue. By June 29th this year, the USDA had “corralled and hauled away 255 geese at 12 parks, with a goal of capturing 400 geese at 14 parks,”áThe New York Times reported.

But the violence does not go unopposed. GooseWatch NYC aims to combat the killings, first by documenting them and exposing them to the public, which it has worked on doing this year. The organization recruited volunteers to watch parks daily and, if they witnessed a round-up or kill, to document it and to call other volunteers to witness it.

As a fan of the Prospect Park geese and their goslings, who are a charming pleasure to watch, I will be supporting GooseWatch NYC. To join in GooseWatch NYC’s work, you can “like” them onáFacebook or email them at You can also follow them onáTwitter.

Related Stories:

NYC Geese to be Cooked for Poor

Geese Euthanized in Brooklyn

Communication Towers Kill Nearly 7 Million Birds a Year

Photo Credit: Eric B├ęgin


Rob Drury
Rob Drury4 years ago

Wow; I suspect that this is so simple that even an occasional liberal can understand, so I'll give it a try. All of the geese on the planet are not worth a single human life lost. Bird strikes don't just result in tremendous aircraft damage (which would be reason enough to eradicate the birds), they occasionally kill people. Advances in technology and materials have reduced both the frequency of and aircraft damage caused by bird strikes, but in areas where there's still a problem, the birds need to go. Simple enough?

Career USAF officer and pilot

Stella Nobrega-Garcia

Very sad...

Marieanne Phillips

The very people that we think we could trust are doing the wrong and evil things towards animals and destroying the trust with humans.

Mark Donners
Mark Donner5 years ago

Grover S. and Terry B. ,my adivice to you is shut up and kill yourselves, saves us the trouble of culling your type to clean the earth of overpopulated subhuman monsters.

Nicole Weber
Nicole W5 years ago

it is the human population that needs to be culled!

Valentina R.
Valentina R5 years ago

Nothing makes me rage more than the "they are too many, let's kill them" motivation.

Love Animals Too
Diane Miller5 years ago

It is a shame that our government thinks that it is okay to murder the innocent. I do not want my tax dollars going to kill wildlife of any kind, especially geese as they are near and dear to my heart. I guess the government agencies think that they are above the law. Well, I say, they are not and it is about time we put a stop to this criminal behavior!

Wim D.
Wim D5 years ago

Besides all very useless as the vacant fallen places will be reused by theirs successors.
If for safety reasons, do something about the envirement so it's not attractive for the birds to be there.

Robert Frank
Robert Frank5 years ago

More proof that humans are lazy, selfish, greedy and just plain mean

Robert Frank
Robert Frank5 years ago

More proof that humans are lazy, selfish, greedy and just plain mean