Morning Read: The North Country’s war against the goose continues

A non-violent goose round-up last year in Saranac Lake. Photo by George Earl

Canada geese have been a problem for communities across the North Country for years.

Last year, Saranac Lake’s high school called off an effort to round up and destroy a gaggle of birds that had settled on sports fields, after some residents objected to the purge.

Instead, the district purchased a goose poop removal machine to keep the grass clean.

But the Watertown Daily Times is reporting that the Feds working on Wellesley Island in the St. Lawrence River haven’t been so delicate.  More than 100 birds were captured and euthanized.

In the early hours of June 20, officials with U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Service conducted the clearing, with department staff floating on the water in kayaks and corralling the birds from the water into large nets.

The birds were put in poultry crates and taken to a food processor in the western part of the state. The processed meat then was donated to food pantries.

Officials timed the roundup with the birds’ two- to four-week molting season, when the lack of feathers prevents them from flying away.

So what do you think?  Time to get tough with these big critters?  Tired of parks and public spaces littered with their leavings?  Or

 

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22 Comments on “Morning Read: The North Country’s war against the goose continues”

  1. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    I wonder if the geese ever wish they could round some of us up and have us euthanized for dumping sewage and chemicals into rivers and lakes, for throwing garbage along the sides of roads that ends up washing into water bodies, for plastic bags that choke their young, or for pollution that leads to blue green algae that poisons their feeding areas?

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  2. Peter Hahn says:

    The geese are a nuisance. Arnt they supposed to go to Canada? Not that the Canadians deserve more geese pooping all over public parks.

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  3. Pete Klein says:

    Me no know. Me no care. Me just glad cows don’t fly.

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  4. Alan Gregory says:

    It would help if we humans stopped creating more favorable goose habitat, like manicured lawns around trophy homes and McMansions. Saving forested wildlife habitat – habitat utilized by scores of native species, is not favorable to geese. Therein likes the key. The typical suburban turf farm is an open invitation to resident Canada geese.

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  5. mervel says:

    We don’t have mcmansions, suburbs or nice lawns in St. Lawrence County.

    But what has changed in the past 25 years? Has there been any studies on why geese are not migrating as they should? I am sure there has.

    Is it related to warming and lack of good hard winters?

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  6. Will Doolittle says:

    Aren’t geese good to eat? Couldn’t the pests be turned into provender quite easily?

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  7. Brian Mann says:

    Will – Yeah, I think they did send some of the St. Lawrence River geese to a food pantry…

    Brian, NCPR

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  8. Kathy says:

    Leave them alone. We’re too fussy!

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  9. mervel says:

    I hate to see wonderful animals “verminized” Geese and deer are not vermin they are not pests, once we see them in this way they lose their dignity.

    I don’t have a problem hunting and eating them, but something else is going on to cause this issue of non-migration. Part of it may indeed be that we are providing enticing spaces for them to stay. I do recognize the mess that goose poop creates, its big and it also can contaminate beach water etc.

    I wonder why the coyotes can’t keep them in check? They are kind of tough coyotes may not want to hassle with them.

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  10. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    The people in Provender don’t want those geese either!

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  11. tootightmike says:

    They covert tons of pointless grass into tasty protein…just like cattle. They have grown entirely too comfortable with us since we largely stopped hunting and got so obese.

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  12. Ken Hall says:

    mervel: “I wonder why the coyotes can’t keep them in check?”

    Possibly because there are so relatively few of them (coyotes) which humans allow to survive. Humans don’t want wolves (remember them?) or coyotes keeping the deer population healthy by picking off the sick and injured whilst we pick off the biggest and best. They might take some we are “entitled to” so we eliminate all of the wolves and as many coyotes as we can and then complain when geese poop on our lawns and deer populate the area with disease carrying ticks.

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  13. Walker says:

    “…Geese … are not vermin they are not pests…”

    You ought to try enjoying a nice day at Lake Colby beach!

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  14. mervel says:

    Walker I know what you mean.

    My point was that when we start to look at animals as just pests because they happen to be plentiful right now or in our way, we forget to recognize them as truly unique and important. You see this with deer sometimes. A deer is still amazing, even though we see them all over the place. The same goes for a Canadian goose.

    Of course I agree it would be good to figure out how to get them to migrate or create ways that would make hanging out at our beaches uncomfortable for them.

    Ken, I don’t know it seems like the coyote populations are pretty healthy right now in the North Country? But maybe I could be wrong. I know people with sheep and goats etc, have a problem with them.

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  15. Pete Klein says:

    The geese do migrate south once the lakes freeze over. They can survive cold temperatures but do require open water.

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  16. Ken Hall says:

    mervel: “I know people with sheep and goats etc, have a problem with them.” sic “coyotes”

    If humans loose a few of their domesticated critters to predators that is apparently untenable; however, if they loose them to antibiotic resistant diseases, created via the over use of antibiotics in an effort to increase their profits, that is apparently acceptable. Is it also appears acceptable that the over use of antibiotics, by the farming community, places more and more humans at risk of antibiotic resistant diseases. I have neither read of nor heard of farmers loosing sheep or goats to coyotes here about.

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  17. If Clapton is God, Warren Haynes is Jesus says:

    I can’t speak for other areas in the North Country, but our Coyote population has exploded in Lewis County. Lots of coyote sign in my neighborhood and many other folks I speak to about this topic report the same. A few of these folks hunt coyote with dogs every winter and so are pretty well informed on the population of dominant predator.

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  18. mervel says:

    The people I know who raise sheep have all suffered losses to coyotes. Which I know is not a scientific sample and I also agree that is the cost of doing business where coyotes live. Its why you put a lhama out there or a donkey. (This is in St. Lawrence County).

    But anyway I think the best solution is probably getting one of those goose scooper machines mentioned above to clean the place up.

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  19. Ken Hall says:

    ICGWHJ makes my case for me with his 12:08 comments. “Coyote population has exploded in Lewis County”. Most likely eating eggs and young geese. “Lots of coyote sign in my neighborhood”. I don’t have to look for sign on my farm as I can hear them behind the house yippee ki yaying and see them lying in my field across the road in front of the house in Fall, Winter and Spring; but, not in the Summer. “folks hunt coyote….are pretty well informed on the population of dominant predator”. Really? If they are hunting coyotes thinking they are the top predators they are obviously mistaken, because the top predators here and throughout the world are homo sapiens otherwise known as “humans”.

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  20. AG says:

    mervel – domestic dogs sometimes kill livestock… and it gets blamed on their wild cousins

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  21. mervel says:

    Yes I agree.

    Also lets face it the losses are not that massive. The geese are interesting though. But lets face it, the main problem with them is their droppings. I mean if that is the problem it would seem a more efficient thing to to simply do a good job of cleaning up the poop. I mean ok you kill a whole flock which is hanging out in one area, well next year you might get another we can’t kill them all, nor should we. Easier simply to encourage them to move along or to clean up after them.

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  22. Bev says:

    Well, gee whiz! The Feds are worried about 100 geese at Wellesley Isand on the St. Lawrence River!!! BUT big ships can enter the St. Lawrence with ballasts full of polluted water and full of invasive species and dump it into the St. Lawrence on their way to the Great Lakes so they can return with full ballasts of American and Canadian products. Go figure!!!!~!

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