When a pack of geese nearly caused a tragedy for US Airways Flight 1549 in January 2009, pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger managed a miraculous landing and saved all 155 passengers and crew members on board. But next time, things may not go so smoothly — which is why the federal Agriculture Department decided to round up and kill 400 of Brooklyn's beloved Prospect Park geese, as reported by The New York Times.
The problem, according to some local residents? The Canada geese that caused the accident were migratory birds from outside the region. Prospect Park's Canada geese were a native pack that most likely lived in the area year-round, and were therefore unlikely to pose safety issues in the air.
Dr. Paul Curtis, an associate professor of wildlife sciences at Cornell University, explains that the two types of Canada geese are nearly indistinguishable, even to biologists.
But many park visitors question why the geese had to die. The geese were herded into a fenced area in the park by wildlife biologists and technicians, packed into crates and taken to a nearby building where they were gassed with lethal doses of carbon dioxide. The carcasses were bagged and dumped in a landfill.
Four geese were spotted in the lake over the weekend, but the Agriculture Department hasn't yet finished its schedule of round-ups.
New York has no relocation program for nuisance birds, according to an Agriculture Department spokeswoman. In other states, like Pennsylvania, euthanized geese have been donated for food.
“It’s a horrible end,” Brooklyn resident Anne-Katrin Titze, who fed the geese every morning, told The New York Times. “It’s eerie to see a whole population gone.”