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Goose Busters—and Their Collies—Back at Prospect Park

Officials hope dogs will keep Canada goose population at bay and prevent another mass gassing.

The Goose Busters are back at Prospect Park.

Last summer, the Prospect Park Alliance set out to by scaring the birds off with trained Border Collies and coating their eggs with oil (a process called “addling”). The efforts were in response to the USDA’s 2009 controversial gassing of almost 400 geese in the park.

Anne-Katrin Titze, a local wildlife rehabilitator, spotted the Goose Busters’ van in the park recently, as well as Cleo, one of the companies trained Border Collies, and her handler Mike Mallon. 

“The hiring of border collies in January is ,” said Titze in an email. “The migratory Canada Geese that are at the lake will be gone of their own free will in April, as they were last year, when only 25 - 30 remained.”

Goose Busters is based out of Virginia, and last year the New York Times reported that they worked out of Prospect Park for about eight weeks, at a charge of $725 a week.

Prospect Park Alliance posted an update to their website last week, detailing their Canada Goose Management Plan.

“The border collies will be patrolling the area around the Lake during January, before the breeding season begins, to help manage the goose population in the Park,” the statement read.

According to the update, the Park’s goal is to “discourage non-migratory Canada geese from making a permanent home in Prospect Park, where, in the absence of natural predators, they will quickly multiply and possibly upset the delicate ecosystem of the Lake and its surroundings.”

"We hired Goose Busters last year and it was successful,” said Paul Nelson, Prospect Park Alliance’s spokesman. “We were also praised last year by the Humane Society of the United States and NYC Audubon for our actions."

david January 20, 2012 at 07:26 PM
I abhor the harassment - it certainly is not "humane", and is in violation of the rights geese should have to choose their dwelling. But, I believe the PPA (misguided or not - and I don't know) is doing what they believe will prevent a repeat visit by the USDA to "remove" more geese. The fight to save the geese in NYC needs to be taken to the Mayor's office, who to this day believes killing off 500 or 1000 geese in NYC every year will keep this city safe from airplane crashes and toxic goose poop poisoning, and is willing to spend upwards of $100,000 a year of taxpayer money to hire the USDA. Meanwhile, across NYC today 1000's of geese are resting for the winter before migrating back north.
Marion Ambler January 21, 2012 at 07:57 PM
Where do you think the harrassed geese end up? "APHIS National Wildlife Research Center to Study Wildlife Hazards On and Near Airports lists as one of its major accomplishments this information: “WS studied the movement patterns of birds, such as bald eagles, osprey, and Canada geese. Researchers studying radio-collared and neckcollared Canada geese found that individual birds remained within five kilometers of their original marking location more than 90 percent of the time.” …..this basically means resident Canada geese don’t go farther than 3.125 miles in any direction. The harassed PP geese aren't going far...probably to the parks within the INSANE AND SENSLESS 7 mile no goose zone where they are being rounded up and gassed. In the meantime the few geese who stick it out at PP are endlessly harassed. Rather than harassment people should be standing up and TELLING this Mayor Doombird and his cronies, the USDA, they aren't rounding up any geese in their park period. ttp://www.aphis.usda.gov/wildlife_damage/nwrc/research/aviation/content/WS_Research_aviation-1.pdf
Patty A January 21, 2012 at 08:09 PM
Anne-Katrin is right. "Harassing" the geese in winter is an exercise in cruelty, waste of resources and pointless. These are MIGRATORY geese who would normally leave in the spring anyway. Persecuting them on a daily basis in winter will force them to waste energy, which needs to be conserved for stresses of migration. Those who say, "better harassed than gassed" in the summer apparently don't realize these basic facts. It seems we are all giving into emotional blackmail.
Patty A January 21, 2012 at 08:15 PM
Migratory geese are not choosing a dwelling this time of year. They are simply "wintering" in a location and trying to conserve and save energy for the stresses of migration in the spring. Unfortunately, the Prospect Park geese may not have the energy and fat reserves in the spring to enable them to migrate thousands of miles as they are being forced to use them now to escape senseless, wasteful and cruel "harassment." Thank God, Central Park is not resorting to such lunacy over the winter. There are many geese there now. But, they will begin to leave at the end of next month and continuing through April. That is nature's way. Something that leadership of Prospect Park and many on this site apparently don't understand.
Debra Van Enkenvoort January 22, 2012 at 06:11 PM
Canada Geese are covered in the United States by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918[3]. It is not legal to harm Canada Goose eggs in the U.S. without a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Migratory Bird Management.
Marion Ambler January 22, 2012 at 08:04 PM
I totally agree with Anne-Karin Titze and Patty; the migrant geese will be leaving soon on their own accord and in the meantime are being forced to use up their fat resources running from dogs in PP. "According to the update, the Park’s goal is to “discourage non-migratory Canada geese from making a permanent home in Prospect Park, where, in the absence of natural predators, they will quickly multiply and possibly upset the delicate ecosystem of the Lake and its surroundings.” ......Vancouver, British Columbia has year round resident geese who never leave the city. Their population has been managed successfully and non lethally for 30 years with egg addling. There is no excuse for any community to have an 'over population' of geese. Our geese haven't yet upset the ecological balance anyplace. More BS to justify the persecution of Canada geese and further someone's personal agenda. BTW...what kind of insurance does Goosebusters and PP have in the event the geese they are harassing and forcing to fly, from what should be a safe spot for geese, cause a plane/goose strike resulting in a plane going down???
Patty A January 22, 2012 at 10:27 PM
It is amazing that with all the real problems Prospect Park has, it chooses to target and focus on migratory geese just tying to get through the winter. In the summertime, this park is an absolute eye-sore with overflowing garbage, choking smoke from Barbeques and discarded fishing lines crippling wildlife. Prospect Park's lawns become a graveyard for the bones of dead chickens. But, despite all this ugliness, PP decides it needs to "get rid of the geese!" Indeed, the geese and ducks are the only things of beauty in this otherwise neglected and abused location. One could not pay me to ever visit Prospect Park again -- especially in now knowing its horrible legacy of seemingly non-stop cruelty towards its geese and other animals.
Carol Tesoriero January 22, 2012 at 11:40 PM
Prospect Park ducks and geese are a large part of the beauty of Prospect Park. I do not buy the argument that harassing them is okay. Goose collision with aircraft is rare. Taking the fight to the mayor who has a PERSONAL vendetta wont work, because he has already made up his mind. I am adamantly opposed to having my taxes pay for Goosebusters
Carol Tesoriero January 22, 2012 at 11:48 PM
Once we rolled over for term limits. next, we rolled over when they chased our own wildlife out of our own backyards. We rolled over when they stuck bicycle lanes in the middle of the streets. Yes, let's keep on rolling over. It's gotten us this far.
Johanna Clearfield January 25, 2012 at 08:15 PM
GET OUT. WE DON'T WANT THIS HARRASSMENT IN OUR PARKS. WE DON'T WANT IT. WE DON'T NEED IT. THERE IS NO JUSTIFICATION FOR THIS. GET OUT. http://humanerevolution.org/campaigns/ join occupy Animal Issues and make your voice heard; contact fieldjo@aol.com
ASteinberg January 27, 2012 at 02:41 AM
The nonsensical harrassment of geese, peaceful and beautiful waterfowl, has gone beyond the point of idiocy. The REAL problem in NY is Mayor Bloomberg and his irrational hatred of wildlife. If ever there was a poster child for what NOT to elect to run this city and a cautionary tale of the kind of mayor you NEVER want again, it is him. Other than rack up taxes and slaughter geese and other wildlife - and let's not forget the poor carriage horses - I can't think of anything he's done for NY, certainly nothing good. He most definitely does not listen to the people, who are overwhelmingly not in favor of his continued insane animal killing - especially at their expense. Keep that in mind next election. A Fiorello LaGuardia he's NOT.

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