Officials Kill 400 New York City Geese for Flyer Safety

by  Molly Fergus | Jul 13, 2010
Plane / Biletskiy_Evgeniy/iStock

A year and a half after Canada geese flew into U.S. Airways Flight 1549’s engines and forced the pilot to land in the Hudson, the consequences of the crash continue to ripple all the way to Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. 

At least 400 Canada geese once lived in the Brooklyn oasis, but they all disappeared Monday when biologists from the federal Agriculture Department came in to euthanize the park’s entire population of the birds for the safety of flyers.

Even though the Canada geese that got caught in the U.S. Airways plane’s engines were not Brooklyn residents, Prospect Park is just 6.5 miles from both JFK and LaGuardia airports – a short enough distance to pose a threat to future flights. Officials hope to ultimately get rid of all geese within 7 miles of the city’s major airports.

This all comes less than a month after a crew of park rangers tried to capture and save one Prospect Park goose spotted – alive and acting as if all were normal – with an arrow through its neck. The efforts to save the animal went on for two full days, but the bird (often called “Sticky” or “Target”) was never caught.

Still, most puzzling about the entire situation is not that officials want to keep airspace clear – and safe – for travelers, but that one of New York City’s largest populations of geese is simply being gassed and thrown into a landfill. Some states employ other methods to cut down bird populations, such as preventing eggs from hatching or using fireworks to scare the geese away, and many at least turn the meat into animal feed.

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