The federal Fish and Wildlife Service needs to be more forthcoming with an explanation of last months roundup and killing of 120 Canada geese from Wellesley Island.
The Department of Agriculture agency appears to have acted expeditiously and secretly in response to a property owners concern about the recreational use of their land.
That stands in stark contrast to how Fish and Wildlife officials have responded to a similar request to remove Canada geese that threaten the loss of life at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City. That initiative met with weeks of delay and an environmental impact statement. New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand even intervened with legislation to speed up the removal of 200 geese near the airport. Bird strikes at New York City airports have been increasing in recent years.
However, agency officials have been secretive in their handling of the Wellesley Island geese. They have declined to say who requested the action or how much it cost. The prolific birds are common sights in Northern New York, especially along the waterfront. However, they can damage property and endanger the lives of air travelers.
The speculation is that the birds were removed from the private golf course on the island. Although we do not know for certain since Fish and Wildlife officials will not say who asked for their intervention, the Canada geese suddenly disappeared from the course. So what criteria are used to determine how the agency handles such requests from landowners or municipalities wanting to limit their geese populations? And who pays?
Control of wildlife such as troublesome flocks of Canada geese can be necessary, but it also has to be done more transparently than how it was handled on Wellesley Island.