Last week on my way to work, I drove past city hall and by the lovely town pond that bears the scenic picturesque town dam. In the backdrop we have the gold dome over city hall and one of the most elegant and artistic looking bridges on the ponds green.
This is a stop made by many romantics who like to take beautiful photos with their friends and families, in many cases after a wedding or special event. However, the pond is also visited by Geese who have made it their home. These geese are not as nice as the people who are enjoying the view. They leave bird droppings, block traffic, and are on the DEP list of migratory birds being studied for the Avian Flu.
The goose problem does not only stop at the green, many waterfront developments like our Great Rivers Golf Course, and Caswell Cove have experienced the travelling water foul.
Locally no one seems to have a real clue on what to do about the goose issue, so earlier today I called the Audobon Society who directed me to the Bureau of Wildlife Management at the State Department of Environmental Protection.
Mr. Chris Vann took my call and had a wealth of knowledge in dealing with the bird issue not just in our town but in many other towns state wide. The first thing that Mr. Vann said is that "no one is permitted to harm geese outside of hunting season or without a valid permit from the Federal Wildlife Service."
Recommendations in the past for controlling geese populations has been a procedure called Addling. Addling is simply the oiling of the Geese Eggs. The oil prevents the eggs from coming to term and less geese are born. Other ways of controlling Geese is through the regular hunting season. In our area geese can be hunted on approved state lands from Oct 1st through October 27Th and again November 13Th through December 3rd. Hunters must posses a valid hunting permit and learn the guidelines of safety toward people and nearby homes.
The state also mentioned that a Depredation Permit can be obtained for people who have qualifying properties. This permit can be obtained with the assistance of the DEP and the FWS also must be notified so they may keep records on public actions toward the mitigation of Waterfowl.
These birds are also getting some unwelcome attention thanks to the Swine Flu, because they are on the list of bird being studied by the DEP and the Federal Government for their propensity to carry viruses.
Canadian Geese are known carriers of Salmonella, and the H5N1 Avian Influenza. However, anyone thinking about engaging in drastic actions against these birds should first read the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of which regulates the rights of birds and land owners.
There are also many people in town who like to go feed the geese, and also engage in selfless acts of mercy to aid those birds with broken wings, or like injuries. The Audubon Societies will help and the closest Audubon society to assist in the rehabilitation of wildlife is in Ansonia. The Ansonia Nature Center can be reached at (203) 736-1053.