Wild Warner Asks City to Avoid Geese Wars
Madison, WI—“Kill the Geese! Kill the Geese! Kill the Geese!” yelled an elderly woman as she raised her cane over her head.
At his neighborhood association meeting in 1998 in Barcroft, Virginia, association president David Feld watched neighbors and friends become enemies within two hours because of the geese issue. An aerospace engineer, Feld decided that night to find a humane solution to reduce Barcroft’s growing flock of 100 geese, without killing. Within two years, Feld was successful—the geese were gone –and Feld founded GeesePeace to help other communities.
Twenty seven communities in 10 states and in two countries have now used GeesePeace to humanely reduce their Canada Geese populations. Wild Warner, a local conservation group, would like Madison to avoid the raging “Geese Wars,” and adopt the GeesePeace model.
In its position paper released on September 14, 2010, “Avoiding the Geese Wars: Short and Long-Term Strategies for Canada Geese Reduction,” Wild Warner has three major recommendations for city leaders:
1. Invite GeesePeace here to help negotiate a city-wide geese reduction strategy, without killing, and take advantage of GeesePeace’s free services. As a city with four lakes and over 100 parks, Madison needs a comprehensive, site-specific strategy. Warner Park would be an excellent site for an immediate pilot project;
2. The city should obey its own no-feeding ordinance. By continually mowing city parks, the city is feeding and attracting Canada Geese. A comprehensive geese management plan does not have to be costly. Instead of continuously feeding the geese by mowing, replace grass with prairie and other vegetation and use some of the mowing budget to manage and reduce the population. Parks personnel could be retrained to manage the geese as Rockford, Illinois’ parks department has done (see pg. 4);
3. Immediately improve airport safety by acquiring the latest avian radar detection technology that the US military already uses. Bird detection at airports is dependent on employees using binoculars; they cannot see at night, in stormy weather or beyond 1000 feet. Avian radar provides continuous 24-hour monitoring in most weather conditions. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, radar “can provide valuable real-time information to improve airport safety.”