Letters to the Editor and Others

CrownView Manor and the Killing of Canada Geese

To The Editor:

In an effort to prevent geese from residing on its' property, the managers of CrownView Manor in West Orange last year had a truck come by the property in the dead of night. Workers emerged from the truck and proceeded to round up the geese. The majestic geese were then gassed to death. When made aware of what had taken place, local residents were upset by this act of cruelty.

Their concerns were ignored and continue to be ignored, as the managers of CrownView Manor intend once again slaughter these harmless birds.

Crownview Manor managers should have learned the first time that round-up and slaughter merely leaves an area open for other geese to fill the niche. In fact, this cruel method often results in a net increase of geese. It isn't smart to repeat an action, expecting different results when the first attempt does not accomplish the objective.

Rounding up and slaughtering geese is not an effective solution to for dissuading geese from an area, as the reasons the geese have settled there are not being addressed. Neatly manicured lawns are a virtual smorgasboard for the geese who dine on the freshly cut grass. If geese are not desired on the premises, the landscape must be changed or the geese must be taught that the property is not an acceptable place to be.

Non-lethal strategies for the control of Canada geese have been employed successfully throughout the northeast. On July 2, 1995 the New York Times reported on the goose control programs used by several New Jersey towns.

Allendale has been using pistol noisemakers to scare off geese. Town employees shoot off noisemakers early in the morning which frightens away the birds. So far, it's working; no geese have been sighted in Allendale.

The town of Demarest hung green flags around the Tenakill Brook. Despite vandals tearing down some of the pennants, the goose population has been cut in half. The flags make the geese nervous.

Dow Jones and Company Inc. started using two Border Collies in 1991 at their 175-acre corporate headquarters. The dogs herd the geese into the pond and then keep circling it. Frustrated because they cannot eat, the geese fly off.

Other towns have used non-toxic chemicals that, when sprayed on grassy areas attractive to geese, renders the field either unattractive. As a result, the geese fly off to more friendly surroundings.

Canada geese are among the most misunderstood waterfowl. When the truth is told it benefits the community as well as the geese themselves. Canada geese mate for life. Mated pairs raise and protect their young together and will also look out for one another for as long as they live. Those who have spent time observing geese will tell you that these very emotional, intelligent and extremely devoted creatures deeply mourn not only the loss of their mates, but also the destruction of their eggs.

Geese are now part of the suburban landscape and when we learn to co-exist peacefully with them, it enhances our appreciation of wildlife and the natural world. We have extended an offer of help to the management of CrownView Manor and hope that they allow us to enlighten them to the world of non-lethal goose control, since it has been proven time and again that rounds ups and slaughtering campaigns do not achieve the desired results.

Joe Miele, Vice President
Wildlife Watch Inc.
New Jersey Field Office

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