Feds say slaughter geese in city parks

Honking fowl may no longer be a common sound in New York City parks. The United States Department of Agriculture (U.S.D.A.) and City Hall plan for another round of goose killings this year, drawing criticism from residents ready to rally for bird rights.

“The people will be joining Hands around the Lake in Prospect Park, and that’s really to stand up for wildlife to say we care as New Yorkers,” said Patty Adjamine of the Upper East Side, a bird blogger and wildlife advocate. “We come to the park because we want to connect to nature. And to say that we can’t peacefully coexist with nature is distressing.”

The federal government collaborated with the city last year and implemented the Wildlife Hazard Mitigation Program, an effort to control what it called an overpopulation of geese. The U.S.D.A. along with the Federal Aviation Administration claimed the birds posed a threat to flights in and out of John F. Kennedy International Airport.

That decision incurred widespread public dissent, said Prospect Park spokesman Eugene Patron. After residents protested methods used to terminate the geese — sighting goose gassings as the main concern — Patron said this year, the parks will enforce a no-feed policy and oil unhatched eggs.

Still, Adjamine said such measures will not resolve the problem of overpopulation.

“If we left the geese alone, their population would stabilize,” she said. “They don’t fly all over manhattan or Brooklyn; they stay around a lake or a pond. So it’s difficult to see what the complaints are about and most of them are baseless.”