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9 million pounds of flying meat
July 24, 2010 2:18 PM   Subscribe

17 Atlantic states want to capture alive then kill and and bury 450 000 Canada Geese. Norman Spinrad says that it's a lot of meat so we should eat them.
posted by bru (164 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Well, he's got a point, that is a lot of meat.
posted by dabitch at 2:19 PM on July 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Norman Spinrad is one of them artist types. They're always starving.
posted by cjorgensen at 2:20 PM on July 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


My friend Jackson Landers concurs and is going to do a goose hunting, butchering, and cooking workshop in NYC this fall. His deer workshop was excellent and I'll definitely be there.
posted by melissam at 2:24 PM on July 24, 2010


How do they taste?
posted by jonmc at 2:27 PM on July 24, 2010


Is Norman Spinrad going to subsidise the poultry farming industry? Or is that somebody else's problem?
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:29 PM on July 24, 2010


If you're absolutely insistent on slaughtering that many animals, the idea that you would waste any edible part of them so long as one person is hungry is an absolute fucking disgrace. The cost of the infrastructure to make sure it's done cleanly and efficiently should be considered cost-of-doing-business.
posted by griphus at 2:30 PM on July 24, 2010 [37 favorites]


Damn inconvenient animals, always getting in our way. Kill every last one of 'em. That'll teach 'em for being inconvenient for our technology.
posted by hippybear at 2:34 PM on July 24, 2010 [7 favorites]


> Is Norman Spinrad going to subsidise the poultry farming industry?

Because Rand forbid that anyone should be able to get anything free without going to market, when someone's willing and able to sell them a less nutritious substitute. The important thing to remember about "free market" is that the "market" part is compulsory. Nature is a commie.
posted by hank at 2:35 PM on July 24, 2010 [28 favorites]


Can't we just send them back to Canada?
posted by adamrice at 2:37 PM on July 24, 2010 [15 favorites]


How do they taste?

Freaking delicious. You can bake it dry and it's own grease keeps it moist.

This is a horrific idea by the way.
posted by clarknova at 2:38 PM on July 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Moral of the story is that to be a successful species is to spell your death.
Why does nothing except for us get to live, unless it's an animal lucky enough to be made a pet? It's a pathetic sense of superiority we have, that it is our role to decide how many geese is the right amount of geese.
The geese are a problem sometimes I'm sure, but they don't raze forests or spill oil across the gulf or take other species to the brink of extinction.
And yeah, that is a lot of meat. If we're only going to think of people, surely it's a better publicity move to give that meat out to the needy in USAmerica or abroad.
posted by KingoftheWhales at 2:38 PM on July 24, 2010 [17 favorites]


its
posted by clarknova at 2:39 PM on July 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Geese have a layer of fat under their skin so roasting is a popular way to cook them. They are all dark meat and a rich feeling source of protein. I agree that wasting that much food is not a good idea.
posted by bjgeiger at 2:40 PM on July 24, 2010


Regarding the NYT link:

"euthanized" – perhaps the most toxic euphemism in the entire language.

How is the goose population not "socially acceptable"? That's a ridiculous phrase to use.

It's curious how it's not until the seventh paragraph of the article that there is any real suggestion of what the main motivation behind the cull might be.
posted by mattn at 2:41 PM on July 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


Or is that somebody else's problem?

It is the problem of whoever makes a decision to kill 450,000 live animals with only as much foresight as "I dunno, I guess we'll dump 'em somewhere."
posted by griphus at 2:41 PM on July 24, 2010


Previously. Oddly enough, the current article ends with a statement that there are already almost 30 geese back at Prospect Park.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:41 PM on July 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Because Rand forbid that anyone should be able to get anything free without going to market, when someone's willing and able to sell them a less nutritious substitute.

As WWII refugees, my grandparents scraped together a living as poultry farmers, literally from the ground up, so maybe I'm a bit biased. But nobody goes into any kind of business realistically expecting that the government might at any point just go and dump 450,000 substitutes into the market with no warning.

(My grandparents' free range chickens, ducks & geese were awesomely tasty, too - several orders of magnitude better than any of the mass produced shit you buy from the supermarket)
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:47 PM on July 24, 2010


.
posted by cjorgensen at 2:47 PM on July 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's curious how it's not until the seventh paragraph of the article that there is any real suggestion of what the main motivation behind the cull might be.

yes! this is actually a thing that drives me nuts in the Times pretty much all the time. I can't help but feel like it's some kind of intentional gimmick to keep you reading the entire article.

Article beginning: "The president today announced an initiative to kill a million babies."
shmegegge's brain: GOOD GOD, WHY?!
article: "support for the initiative has been sporadic, owing to what some characterize as partisan bickering.
shmegegge's brain: WHAT?! WHY DO THEY WANT TO KILL A MILLION BABIES?!
article: "senator whatshisfuck stated "there are other uses for these babies."
shmegegge's brain: what are you fucking talking about?! what! the! fuck?!
article: "B.A.B.I.E.S, a term in the medical community for Binaural Anheffalump Biaspora Intra Enchephalographic Syndrome, is typically spread by a mite the administration intends to exterminate."
shmegegge's brain: ... fuck you, nytimes.
posted by shmegegge at 2:49 PM on July 24, 2010 [57 favorites]


Nice catch, Burhanistan.
I hadn't seen it.
posted by bru at 2:50 PM on July 24, 2010


SKY CARP MUST BE STOPPED!
posted by Ron Thanagar at 2:51 PM on July 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


But nobody goes into any kind of business realistically expecting that the government might at any point just go and dump 450,000 substitutes into the market with no warning.

Considering (hoping, praying) this is a one-time thing, then, yes, it is the government's responsibility to subsidize until the 450,000 substitutes are consumed. Again, cost of doing business. I'm not an ecologist, engineer, civil servant (well one day,) politician or analyst, but somehow I doubt that the best and most efficient way to solve whatever problem they are trying to solve is mass slaughter.
posted by griphus at 2:52 PM on July 24, 2010


> How do they taste?

The joke would go "like chicken" but there's really no comparison. WAY better than duck, even.
posted by _dario at 2:53 PM on July 24, 2010


Why does nothing except for us get to live, unless it's an animal lucky enough to be made a pet?

Oh, I don't know. We tend to slaughter each other in the millions on a pretty regular basis, one way or the other.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:54 PM on July 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


OK, I admit that my initial gut-level reaction to the first line of this FPP went something like:

"Oh god, yes, please, that would get all the goddamn ubiquitous motherfucking goose shit of 40-50 uninvited squatter Canada geese off the walkways and grass of the local riverside park so that I don't have to do some kind of Martha Graham/Isadora Duncan synthesis of interpretive dance to dodge it with every step while trying to keep five separate dogs from eating it. Jetee, "leave it, leave it," West Side Storyish sidle, "leave it, let's go, unh-uh, drop it."

But [sigh] I know that mass slaughtering geese is bad.
posted by FelliniBlank at 2:59 PM on July 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


Not entirely sure if this solution would deliver the numbers that these Atlantic States are looking for, but I think re-locating nests and creating special hunting rules (no license, no limit) might help to bring down the Canada Goose population in a more ethical way. These geese breed for life, and if I am not mistaken return to their nesting area every year.

I think even the solution I outlined above it too serious an intervention.

Allowing populations of natural predators to restore would probably be the best long term fix. The geese survive in spite of things like urban sprawl, but the foxes, wolves, coyotes, badgers, etc have probably been eliminated from areas with a significant human population. Human landowners can take some fairly small precautions which will keep predators away from their homes and pets, but a lot of that knowledge seems to have fallen into disuse and those humans resort to killing predators instead of co-existing.

Climate change is another consideration- there is open water in a lot of areas that used to freeze in the winter, so the geese find a lot more places to be suitable habitat. A lot of geese that will be killed on a dangerous migration just tough out winters in areas that used to have a colder climate.

A wholesale slaughter of these animals is a morally reprehensible act. People need to be more responsible and take better care of wildlife.
posted by Intrepid at 3:00 PM on July 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


Can't we just send them back to Canada?

You're an immigrant too..
posted by Intrepid at 3:01 PM on July 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Moral of the story is that to be a successful species is to spell your death.

Yup. Malthus is a harsh master. Just look at us humans and at the planet we're (not-so-)slowly and irreversibly making less and less hospitable for ourselves.
posted by haltingproblemsolved at 3:03 PM on July 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Burying food in the ground when there are people starving anywhere in the world is a sin.
posted by localroger at 3:06 PM on July 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


I don't think anyone who has had close experience of these incredible multiplying shit-machines when they're alive could possibly wish to eat them when they're dead. They're a blight. They're not like other wildfowl. Extermination would be a service to the environment and to every other species that has to try to live with them.
posted by Phanx at 3:09 PM on July 24, 2010


Alright, we'll take our Canadian Geese back, provided you take back all your damned American Apparel.
posted by mannequito at 3:11 PM on July 24, 2010 [28 favorites]


But nobody goes into any kind of business realistically expecting that the government might at any point just go and dump 450,000 substitutes into the market with no warning.

of course, when the government subsidizes corn and soybeans to the point where the u s broiler industry is having costs reduced by $1.25 billion a year, the cry of government interference seems rather pointless
posted by pyramid termite at 3:11 PM on July 24, 2010 [13 favorites]


But nobody goes into any kind of business realistically expecting that the government might at any point just go and dump 450,000 substitutes into the market with no warning.

I would assume that, on any given day, there are far more than half a million chickens in the supermarkets of America. Not to even look at other aspects of the food industry such mass production facilities for fast food, cafeterias, processed chicken products, food products with chicken as an ingredient, etc.

Now, if I were a goose farmer? I'd be pissed. But I don't think any poultry farmers stick only to geese. And even if there are a few, they're probably not raising this breed (and, the goose market being the niche that it is, this probably really does make a difference).

I highly doubt that any small farmers would be put under because these geese didn't end up in an incinerator.
posted by Sara C. at 3:12 PM on July 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


I don't think anyone who has had close experience of these incredible multiplying shit-machines when they're alive could possibly wish to eat them when they're dead.

May I wager at the fact that you have never gone through a period of time where feeding yourself or your family has been more of a bother than going to the store to purchase food?
posted by griphus at 3:12 PM on July 24, 2010 [7 favorites]


I hope they take about 5000 into a pen for gavage. Goose foie gras is lovely.
posted by Nelson at 3:12 PM on July 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


incredible multiplying shit-machines

Phanx has clearly never worked in a CAPO.
posted by Sara C. at 3:13 PM on July 24, 2010


CAFO, sorry. Fuck.
posted by Sara C. at 3:13 PM on July 24, 2010


Curbing flying-- airplane flying, that is-- is one of the simpler and least burdensome things we could do to limit global warming.

Those brave geese are attempting to save us from ourselves at the cost of their own lives.

But we're not having any of that nonsense, are we?
posted by jamjam at 3:14 PM on July 24, 2010 [6 favorites]


How about just not flying into a flock of geese?

(Also: Jeez, can't a plane crash in New York City without people calling for the extermination of some supposedly responsible population?)
posted by Sys Rq at 3:15 PM on July 24, 2010 [41 favorites]


That goose-eating dream of his seems impossible but I sort of hope it comes true... the great goose eating fad of 2010! We'll always remember that year, when there was a goose in every pot and all that was on the menu was goose marsala and roasted half-goose! Those of you who are horrified at the goose-culling plan... are you all people who think it's never ok for humans to kill animals...? Or is there something I'm missing, because goose-population-management doesn't bother me at all.
posted by moxiedoll at 3:16 PM on July 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


If there's no going back on this plan, then yes, the geese should be made into food. Maybe dry the meat and donate it to Haiti, for example? Could probably go a long way for them.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:17 PM on July 24, 2010


How is the goose population not "socially acceptable"? That's a ridiculous phrase to use.

It is a ridiculous phrase, and the NYTimes clearly does not feel the need to spell it out, but if you live on the north east coast of America (I see you are a UKer, though oddly, so is Phanx) and walk in public parks, you will know what he means.

It's the poop. It is widespread and really disgusting.

But if kill them we must then, yes, do them the honor of making the death serve a dual purpose.
posted by IndigoJones at 3:17 PM on July 24, 2010


You bastards.

Never again.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:17 PM on July 24, 2010


The sooner all the geese are dead, the sooner we'll find all their money.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:18 PM on July 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sys Rq: "(Also: Jeez, can't a plane crash in New York City without people calling for the extermination of some supposedly responsible population?)"

I just pictured riots through Williamsburg and Bushwick because some kid in drainpipe jeans and flannel forgot to switch off his iPod during landing procedures.
posted by griphus at 3:19 PM on July 24, 2010 [7 favorites]


They came first for the geese, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a goose.
posted by gman at 3:20 PM on July 24, 2010 [8 favorites]


I can see the Fox News headline: OBAMA'S SECRET PLAN TO KILL 450,000 HONKIES
posted by Sys Rq at 3:21 PM on July 24, 2010 [82 favorites]


They came first for the geese, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a goose.

HONK HONK HONK!!
posted by pyramid termite at 3:24 PM on July 24, 2010


Barring Haiti, this would probably feed the entire RenFest season. But then the turkey farmers would get angry.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:27 PM on July 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


pyramid termite: "HONK HONK HONK!!"

...I didn't mean for it to get weird.
posted by griphus at 3:28 PM on July 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Can't we get just members of the tea party to give these illegal geese a ride back over the border?
posted by special-k at 3:29 PM on July 24, 2010


On Earth, the report says, the current human population of 6.9 billion is “five times the amount that most people would find socially acceptable,” suggesting the number would be reduced to about 1.4 billion.

Time to cull the herd.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 3:32 PM on July 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


yes, yes, but wouldn't it be much more fun to freeze them solid and then hurl them into the engine of a boeing 777?
posted by sexyrobot at 3:33 PM on July 24, 2010


They should wait until November and invite a bunch of southern Swedes for the biggest Mårtensgås ever. A holiday/dinner tradition in Skåne in Sweden were you start with svartsoppa (black soup) made of Goose blood and then move on the main course of roasted goose. It's supposed to be delicious.
posted by rpn at 3:33 PM on July 24, 2010


I just pictured riots through Williamsburg and Bushwick because some kid in drainpipe jeans and flannel forgot to switch off his iPod during landing procedures.

"Security authorities are alarmed by the sudden emergence of these bearded home-grown terrorists.

Forensic investigators found on the iPod their chilling anthem: And someday we will die / And our ashes will fly / From the aeroplane over the sea"
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:34 PM on July 24, 2010 [12 favorites]


If you're absolutely insistent on slaughtering that many animals, the idea that you would waste any edible part of them so long as one person is hungry is an absolute fucking disgrace. ----- This reminds me of the wholesale slaughter of the American Bison back at the turn of the 20th century. Thousands of the animals were killed just for the sake of killing them, sometimes from a train, with no intention of using them at all. Just senseless slaughter. The natives would slaughter a good many of them, too, but when they did it, they used every single part of the animal. The bison was basically their grocery store, providing sustenance, clothing, and shelter. When the european settlers got to the plains, they were primarily interested in the pelts, and had no use for anything else, and left hundred of thousands of carcasses to rot. (Steve Rinella wrote a fascinating book on the subject last year, called American Buffalo: In Search of a Lost Icon.)
posted by crunchland at 3:34 PM on July 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


They're not killing nearly enough of them. They're worse than rats. The population will quickly rebound as if nothing had been done at all.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:38 PM on July 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


They're not killing nearly enough of them.

That's not the epicenter of the problem here. I believe that things like open hunts and such even out animal populations so they don't starve to death or become a public nuisance/hazard. Wasting the flesh, on the other hand, is morally wrong.
posted by griphus at 3:42 PM on July 24, 2010


About Mårtensgås, it's apparently based on the saint Martinius, a roman soldier who converted to christianity. When living in Tours the local folk wanted him as a bishop, but he refused and hid among the geese (November 11, 371). The geese however cackled too much and he was found. The geese are eaten as a revenge for this treason.

I have no idea about how it ended up as a holiday in Skåne though.
posted by rpn at 3:43 PM on July 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


Give the unemployed shotguns and a license to run rampant through the midwest shooting Canadian geese. They get to keep the meat (or send it to local soup kitchens) and get a paycheck as well.

Kill two birds with one stone!
posted by dibblda at 3:56 PM on July 24, 2010


Not to derail this, but is a wild, freerange Canada goose safe to eat? As in, would they have parasites and stuff?
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 3:57 PM on July 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


I am big fan of Spinrad. I could highly recommend his short story, The Lost Continent.
posted by ovvl at 3:57 PM on July 24, 2010


are you all people who think it's never ok for humans to kill animals...?

There's a huge difference between killing an animal for food [which I have a somewhat complicated view on, but is generally morally defensible --- treatment of animals before death is somewhat separate] and killing them because they're in our way / annoy us.
posted by wildcrdj at 4:01 PM on July 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Once that's taken care of, can we start on the damn deer?
posted by IndigoJones at 4:01 PM on July 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'll cook your goose.
posted by loquacious at 4:03 PM on July 24, 2010


Many wild bird populations are victims of our pollution, and no longer safe to eat. It is possible these geese are not full of mercury, lead, selenium, pesticides, or any number of environmental contaminants, but not likely. The idea that everything has to die, but us, is just more evidence of our overpopulation, and concomitant moral and environmental chaos.

Out west the international flyway is absolutely in jeopardy, as water wrangling depletes wetlands north to south, and industrial pollution levels rise in what water is left. What was wetland last year, is dust this year, I have made personal visits to the dried out areas. They are not drought-stricken, but the water has been taken for human use.

On one hand where there is water in the eastern seaboard, wildlife is threatened with outright culling. Out west, wildlife is starved, and poisoned into oblivion. Certain species of duck and much of the fish, are now too mercury laden for consumption.

I dislike the mentality that casually offers annihilation for convenience sake. I also clearly remember the feel of chicken dookey between my toes, ummm...takes me back! You just can't wash that stuff off enough!
posted by Oyéah at 4:04 PM on July 24, 2010 [7 favorites]


nthing the idea that killing so many animals and NOT eating them is a sickening concept. there are so many hungry people in the US alone and roast goose sure is tasty.
posted by supermedusa at 4:04 PM on July 24, 2010


The airplane stuff seems beside the point -- the article mentions only one incident in the past 15 years, killing 24 people --- and that happened in Alaska, nowhere near where the culling is. The only other incident they mention is of course the Hudson one (where no one died). 24 people in 15 years --- there are better uses of money and time for reducing damage to humans than this program. The only reason for this is the "public nuisance" angle, and killing them for that is what some people are objecting to.
posted by wildcrdj at 4:06 PM on July 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Just give the geese to farmers and let them slaughter them and sell them. Then you don't need to subsidize them separately.
posted by empath at 4:06 PM on July 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


If they must kill all these birds, and doing by live capture first, I don't see why they can't be checked for parasites, killed humanly, plucked, frozen and divvied out to say food stamp families or homeless shelters with a nice recipe on how to make roast duck.
posted by dabitch at 4:12 PM on July 24, 2010 [1 favorite]




Surely someone will disabuse me of this notion, but hunger in the United States isn't a function of a meat shortage. We have plenty of meat. Making sure that it's cheap enough, that's the rub. Slaughter and distribution wouldn't be free. Would it be cheaper than another kind of meat?
posted by incessant at 4:19 PM on July 24, 2010


Duck, duck, goose!
posted by ericb at 4:21 PM on July 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Give them to food banks.

Seriously, this does seem like a horrible waste of potential food, though the idea that they might not be safe to eat certainly gives pause.

They're starting to overrun my part of Long Island, too. They are absolutely everywhere.

The local school district had to hire someone with a specially trained dog to keep them off the fields but then a mini-scandal developed over the cost and who made the most money off that deal.

This spring, traffic on an extremely busy roadway (Jericho Turnpike, for those familiar with the area) came to a complete halt to allow two geese to lead their little flock across all four lanes of the road. Once they hit the sidewalk, traffic started gearing up again, and then stopped completely as the geese executed a perfect left turn and crossed the intersecting road, staying entirely within the crosswalk again. It was hilarious.
posted by etaoin at 4:22 PM on July 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


In the midwest, venison from culled deer goes to soup kitchens and food pantries. The poor would be happy to eat your geese. (And most food banks are really hurting right now.)
posted by availablelight at 4:24 PM on July 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


How is the goose population not "socially acceptable"?

They really need to preface every single article about this with the following: This is all because of goose shit. Because that's the truth. If you live in New Jersey or New York, goose shit is a problem of epic proportions.

Of course, a lot of things are Problems of Epic Proportions to New Yorkers and Jerseyites.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:25 PM on July 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


the received wisdom is that they taste so bad that they are basically inedible. I remember a few years ago one of the towns in the lower hudson valley had a cull and tried to feed them to people in the shelters (or maybe jails?). Maybe I am misremembering things but I think they tasted so bad they actually took the town to court and forced them to stop serving them.

So yeah these aren't the OMG! Goose is amazing eating! sort of geese (although maybe fed a proper diet they would be tastier - I don't know)
posted by JPD at 4:29 PM on July 24, 2010


Wild fowl in particular are great carriers of viruses (bird flu). When wild fowl mix with domestic fowl is how bird flu strains get created and spread to humans. It's most common in China where every backyard has chickens and wild fowl migrate from Siberia to SE Asia stopping over in ponds and fields along the way. Then they kill all the chickens in giant culls, but it started in the wild populations. Of course people eat wild birds, and wild meat, take the risk of various brain wasting diseases. It should be voluntary and understood. It's a small risk, there are risks to every kind of food - lettuce can kill too.
posted by stbalbach at 4:30 PM on July 24, 2010


I think there's a company that will turn them into lovely beer carafes. No worries about parasites and mercury, and no threats to poultry farmers.

Problem solved.
posted by Alison at 4:31 PM on July 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


They really need to preface every single article about this with the following: This is all because of goose shit.

The fucking geese are nasty shit machines and they're aggressive as well. I took one of my boys to park to feed the ducks and once the geese got wind of what was going on they came after us (seriously) and chased us back to the car. Of course our shoes were covered in goose shit to boot. Also, I don't think the giant geese even migrate much anymore, they just find some water and stay put being full-time bastards. My idea for controlling them was to allow anyone to harvest as many geese as they like from public parks with the golf club of their choice during school hours.
posted by MikeMc at 4:45 PM on July 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


The geese are migratory fowl that use an international flyway and as such are not ours to mass slaughter. Hunting is one thing this is very different.

One of the reasons they hang out is there are no pressures to keep moving (migrating). Perhaps greater hunting pressure would move them along.
posted by shnarg at 4:50 PM on July 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Having hunted during several goose seasons, I have to say, it's not as easy as it looks. You basically sit in a hole in the ground, make goose-like noises, set out a field of decoys and you still might get nothing. I got a single goose the first year I went, and that was the result of 4 Saturdays of sitting in a corn field in northern Maryland in freezing weather.

Also, wild geese aren't nearly as fatty as domestic, so if you're planning a long slow roast to render all the fat, you'll probably end up with a dried up husk that's not even good for jerky. However, if done right, (quick sear, then finish in the oven) wild goose is incredible.
posted by electroboy at 4:50 PM on July 24, 2010


Not to derail this, but is a wild, freerange Canada goose safe to eat?

Yes. They're a very popular game bird for eating, and I've never heard of health problems linked to doing it.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 4:51 PM on July 24, 2010


Anyone who is thinks killing these giant honking poop rats is immoral must not live in my neighborhood. Even the vegans around here are for the wholesale slaughter of these motherfuckers. These aren't cute little ducks, they are giant, angry pigeons who destroy every park, lake, sidewalk, and precious piece of urban grass they touch.
posted by bradbane at 4:51 PM on July 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


I love to see the reaction if Canada announced it was going to kill half a million bald eagles.
posted by stinkycheese at 5:00 PM on July 24, 2010 [8 favorites]


Just a reminder to my fellow Canadians: Those salmon-stealing dickbag Bald Eagles aren't endangered anymore, and Thanksgiving's just around the corner!
posted by Sys Rq at 5:01 PM on July 24, 2010 [9 favorites]




NVR 4GET!
posted by blue_beetle at 5:18 PM on July 24, 2010


So, some times of the year, I see a flock of geese on the local high-school football field, and they're eating and just hanging around there. Probably a hundred of them at a time, sometimes.

The question I've always wondered (especially if I see the geese when I'm hungry) is, what's stopping me from going out there and just grabbing one of those birds in a large canvas sack? Other than that geese can be pretty ornery, I mean. I figure, diversionary tactics are possible...) Are there laws preventing this? Are they protected? Why isn't everyone in the neighborhood having goose for dinner?
posted by not_on_display at 5:20 PM on July 24, 2010


When pretending to educate myself in Boston, I had to walk through the Fens on a regular basis, and god damn those fucking geese! They made me late for my internship at the MFA because I had to take the long way to avoid them. On the days I tried to suck it up and be within twenty feet of them, they'd waggle their snakey necks at me, honk and run towards me, and I've tripped on multiple occasions in my museum-friendly shoes straight into the stinking mud, slush, and goose poop trying to get away from the violent, evil creatures.

Once, I passed by a flock as they were all curled up and sleeping. "Awww, they're kinda cuddly when they're napping!" I thought to myself. As I got within a couple feet, one of them suddenly sprung its neck up and flew at me, full-tilt, snapping and flapping and generally scaring the shit out of me. As though to herd me into some kind of death trap, other geese had suddenly moved into my way, smack dab in the middle of the sidewalk. The geese forced me into Boston traffic to make my getaway!

I would love the vengeance of eating one of these bastards. It's not like they'll go extinct. Their little fluffy babies pop up every year in droves, and made me think, for the first year at least, that maybe this new generation wouldn't want me dead.
posted by Mizu at 5:22 PM on July 24, 2010 [7 favorites]


I would love to see Michele Obama take her healthy lunch campaign to an extreme place. The garden in the whorehouse was a good start, but seeing her in some Dior designed camo and a engraved shotgun would be awesome. We could watch later in august as she goes through hunters safety and America agonizes over the choice of bird dog (lab or golden retreiver). Hillary could go shooting skeet with her to practice and Joe Biden could offer some statesman like advice including a really controversial Cheney joke. Fox news could paint her as an angry black woman and the NRA would be tied in knots.
posted by humanfont at 5:23 PM on July 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


Norman Spinrad says that it's a lot of meat so we should eat them.

That what they did with 100 geese in Bend, Oregon.
posted by homunculus at 5:27 PM on July 24, 2010


Oregon is still trying to make up for the whale.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:35 PM on July 24, 2010


Are there laws preventing this?

Yes, there is a hunting season and there are licenses and stamps that must be purchased otherwise it's molesting wildlife (not in the /b/ way) at best and more likely felony poaching.
posted by MikeMc at 5:35 PM on July 24, 2010


I would love to see Michele Obama take her healthy lunch campaign to an extreme place. The garden in the whorehouse was a good start,

WHAT
posted by Sys Rq at 5:39 PM on July 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


It strikes me that maybe paying a bounty on geese or issuing lots of free hunting licenses might be a better option in areas that are sparsely-populated enough to support hunting. The geese will be less likely to be wasted. Just dumping a half-MILLION of these birds into a landfill seems appalling to me. I have no problem with culling them back, but we shouldn't just toss them into a landfill, we should use them.

If for some reason they're not edible, they might make good farm fertilizer, or pet food. Dogs and cats are meant to eat meat, and I'm sure they'd be very happy about goose dinners.
posted by Malor at 5:41 PM on July 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


My friend Jackson Landers concurs and is going to do a goose hunting, butchering, and cooking workshop in NYC this fall. His deer workshop was excellent and I'll definitely be there.

Who is, incidentally, this MeFite's brother.

"This" being me. I'm not calling out melissam. :)
posted by waldo at 5:42 PM on July 24, 2010


The fucking geese are nasty shit machines and they're aggressive...

Apparently, geese and people have many things in common.
posted by belvidere at 5:49 PM on July 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Apparently, geese and people have many things in common.

Well, at least we can roust the humans out of the parks when we catch them shitting on the grass.
posted by MikeMc at 5:54 PM on July 24, 2010


Norman Spinrad's Greatest Work.

My first Godwin! I'm so proud...
posted by tspae at 5:57 PM on July 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, at least we can roust the humans out of the parks when we catch them shitting on the grass.

I wish they would--maybe we could enjoy them again. The nice thing about geese shit: it decomposes and disappears quickly, but human shit (plastic, styrofoam, crude oil, toxic waste, etc.), well, not so quickly.
posted by belvidere at 6:01 PM on July 24, 2010


My wife and I were, some years ago, making friendly in a public park and a bunch of Canadian geese starting menacing us.

Needless to say, as a result, we didn't get as friendly as I would have liked. Sorry geese, but I'm with the state of New York on this one.
posted by elder18 at 6:02 PM on July 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Nelson

Let's not be trite, here; those geese suffer and die for us. We must honor their sacrifice; we must eat the foie gras. We must not let them die in vain.
posted by The Confessor at 6:04 PM on July 24, 2010


I had a similar experience a few years back on Route 110, etaoin. A flock entered the roadway and one goose just stood in front of my car. I honked the horn to scare it away. Not only did it continue to stand there, but honked and shit in the road before walking away moments later.



Moral of the story: Don't bother honking your horn at an animal that can honk back.
posted by dr_dank at 6:05 PM on July 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


My wife and I were, some years ago, making friendly in a public park and a bunch of Canadian geese starting menacing us.

Needless to say, as a result, we didn't get as friendly as I would have liked.


Yeah, the geese are real sticklers for public decency. Why do you think we're so polite up here?
posted by Sys Rq at 6:07 PM on July 24, 2010 [12 favorites]


It's good to know that Metafilter's general hatred for geese hasn't waned in the last 10 days since this (still open) thread.
posted by crunchland at 6:12 PM on July 24, 2010


It's not just New York and New Jersey either. I live in northeast Indiana, and there's a flock of about three dozen Canada geese living in and about the ponds of my apartment complex, plus another flock about that size at the office.

They're large, they don't respect cars at all, and they shit on everything. They're pests.

They also look pretty tasty. So while I'm completely in favor of culling them, I definitely think there should be a way of getting them on to people's tables somehow.
posted by valkyryn at 6:22 PM on July 24, 2010


Arm everyone with slingshots and pay a bounty. Fun for the whole family!
posted by five fresh fish at 6:24 PM on July 24, 2010


The big problem is that there's no legal US hunting season for geese; a sideeffect, I believe, of the Federal Migratory Bird Act, which was designed to curtail wholesale commercial duck hunting in the early 20th century. The sort of wasteful one-time slaughter being proposed is criminally wasteful; a better solution would be legalizing hunting and setting the bag limits at reasonable levels. Keep in mind that since geese are migratory, they wouldn't have to be hunted in Brooklyn for Brooklyn to see a reduction. Programs like Hunters For The Hungry could help use the meat.
posted by Kadin2048 at 6:32 PM on July 24, 2010


It's good to know that Metafilter's general hatred for geese hasn't waned

Just imagine if they rode fixed-gear bicycles and used Apple products!
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:39 PM on July 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Keep in mind that since geese are migratory, they wouldn't have to be hunted in Brooklyn for Brooklyn to see a reduction.

Not all geese are migratory. The ones that live at my apartment complex and office are there year freaking around. You want to get rid of those birds, you have to get rid of those birds.
posted by valkyryn at 6:42 PM on July 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


Having lived in the Fenway for over a decade, I can attest that this species of fowl has long given up on fitting in and becoming productive members of the community. That being said, I'd only be okay with the cull if they managed to trim the herd of duck boats simultaneously. They both have to go.
posted by jsavimbi at 6:43 PM on July 24, 2010




The big problem is that there's no legal US hunting season for geese

There seems to be in Wisconsin: Migratory Bird Regulations (PDF). There's even a number to call (1-800-99-GOOSE) to report your harvested geese. Apparently there's committee that meets annually to set the season and bag limits.
posted by MikeMc at 6:49 PM on July 24, 2010


The big problem is that there's no legal US hunting season for geese

michigan has one - but looking over their rules, you're not supposed to hunt them within 450 feet of an occupied dwelling, which, with city ordinances prohibiting the shooting of firearms within the city limits, pretty much eliminates urban geese hunting
posted by pyramid termite at 6:57 PM on July 24, 2010


Metafilter's general hatred for geese

Are you kidding? Those things are delicious, I could never hate an animal that tasty.
posted by drinkyclown at 7:15 PM on July 24, 2010


Barring Haiti, this would probably feed the entire RenFest season. But then the turkey farmers would get angry.

From what I understand, you mean emu farmers.

Yeah. Turkey legs at the ren faire . . .that would be an emu. Tasty!

re: geese - they are foul, aggressive, and in large numbers even MORE aggressive, and therefore are a nuisance. Someone should, however, get to eat them when it's over with.
posted by Medieval Maven at 7:32 PM on July 24, 2010


W-What? When did they switch to emu? My medieval experience has been shattered.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:41 PM on July 24, 2010


You can hunt them in Delaware [pdf] too.

Hmm and apparently you can shoot as many crows as you want on Thursday, Fridays and Saturdays. And there's a mourning dove season. Not mourning doves! They're so cute and they make that sad noise.
posted by interplanetjanet at 7:46 PM on July 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah. Turkey legs at the ren faire . . .that would be an emu. Tasty!

Wait, what? The ones I had tasted like turkey to me. But then, maybe emu does.

My sister is one of those irresponsible animal owners that everyone hates and one day decided to raise emus on her ranch. When she got tired of them, she...let them loose. In Texas.

To this day, I just hope they all got shot by neighbors instead of starving to death/freezing when winter came. They're nasty tempered, but didn't deserve that.

If these geese are full of chemicals, then I don't see how hunting/feeding to animals/using as fertilizer is an option, sadly. Can't put mercury back into the food chain. Landfills aren't ideal either, but I don't know what else you can do with a bunch of poison-filled dead waterfowl.
posted by emjaybee at 7:50 PM on July 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


So that's why they're mourning doves.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:50 PM on July 24, 2010


I work at a large company that has a large complex in New England. There, isn't that specific? Anyways, one weekend, a Canadian goose broke through a window into the CEO's office, and spent the two days shitting on everything and eating bon-bons from his candy bowl. Fortunately, said CEO had a good sense of humor, and didn't order flock eradication. We have since employed dogs, bizarre statues, and all kinds of other benign measures, but the geese are undaunted. I appreciate their Catbert-like attitude. Also, Kato the Goosedog doesn't answer his e-mail.
posted by Ella Fynoe at 7:58 PM on July 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


Human: Ho ho ho! Look upon my works, ye mighty! The most successful organism ever to spread across the face of this silly planet! Why, merely to list our achievements would take centuries! We could blow up the moon!

Goose: *Honk honk*

Human: *Urinates self*
posted by turgid dahlia at 8:04 PM on July 24, 2010 [19 favorites]


Grape Aide supposedly scares them off. But death is better. Slingshots aren't firearms are they?
posted by five fresh fish at 8:40 PM on July 24, 2010



The big problem is that there's no legal US hunting season for geese; a sideeffect, I believe, of the Federal Migratory Bird Act, which was designed to curtail wholesale commercial duck hunting in the early 20th century.

Uhh, what?

Not to derail this, but is a wild, freerange Canada goose safe to eat? As in, would they have parasites and stuff?

Generally yes they are quite safe to eat. They can have parasites, the most common in my experience is rice breast. It doesn't affect the taste or safety of the fowl, but it is funny looking and many hunters will not eat it.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:45 PM on July 24, 2010


The garden in the whorehouse was a good start,

WHAT?


iPhone predictive text + dyslexia and ADHD = commedy.
posted by humanfont at 8:49 PM on July 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


> rice breast

Ew. EW. ick ick ick.

Nope. "Apparently, the cysts become “invisible” during cooking, and health officials tell us that ingesting cooked Sarcocystosis cysts (cooking and eating ricebreast ducks) does not pose a health hazard. .... it is important to not feed infected birds to pets, or to throw such birds where they can be consumed by wild carnivores as this may only help the cycle of the parasite. Dispose of any infected birds in garbage or by burning."

So -- burying them would not be a good idea. Unless they plan to pave over the site afterward to make it vermin-proof.
posted by hank at 9:12 PM on July 24, 2010


What if they were Jewish geese?
posted by Balisong at 9:19 PM on July 24, 2010


valkyryn: "It's not just New York and New Jersey either. I live in northeast Indiana, and there's a flock of about three dozen Canada geese living in and about the ponds of my apartment complex, plus another flock about that size at the office.

They're large, they don't respect cars at all, and they shit on everything. They're pests.

They also look pretty tasty. So while I'm completely in favor of culling them, I definitely think there should be a way of getting them on to people's tables somehow.
"

Conversely, I'm in northwest Indiana and there are 2 local flocks, one of about a dozen and another of about 20. They don't bother the cars even at a busy intersection. The larger flock lives near a pond outside an assisted living facility and several of the residents enjoy watching them.

Around here, the seagulls (which outnumber the geese in spades) cause a lot more noise and mess and no one tries to cull them.

If they must kill the geese, please use them to feed the needy. As for the foie gras, I am far from a PETA member but let's not torture the poor animals first. At least, that's what I understand foie gras involves... force feeding.
posted by IndigoRain at 9:22 PM on July 24, 2010


What if they were Jewish geese?

That's an excellent question Balisong, and evidence of a keen and inquiring mind!

-------------------------------------------------------

Jewish Stewed Goose

Clean and cut a fat goose into pieces; season with salt, pepper and ginger. Put in a stew-pan with 1 sliced onion, 2 cloves of garlic, 1 bay-leaf, thyme and a few peppercorns; add the juice of a lemon. Cover with hot water and let cook until tender. Thicken with flour and serve hot with apple-sauce.

via - http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/365_foreign_dishes/November#Jewish_Stewed_Goose

-------------------------------------------------------

(Helpful hint: Geese aren't people, so we treat them differently.)
posted by sebastienbailard at 9:28 PM on July 24, 2010


(Not jewish-ist.)
posted by sebastienbailard at 9:28 PM on July 24, 2010


A no limit, no licence hunt would be the best way to cull these birds. If they can live trap them for the cull then allowing people to trap them for food would work even in urban areas where you can't safely use firearms/bows.

"the received wisdom is that they taste so bad that they are basically inedible. I remember a few years ago one of the towns in the lower hudson valley had a cull and tried to feed them to people in the shelters (or maybe jails?). Maybe I am misremembering things but I think they tasted so bad they actually took the town to court and forced them to stop serving them.

"So yeah these aren't the OMG! Goose is amazing eating! sort of geese (although maybe fed a proper diet they would be tastier - I don't know)"


They must have been cooking them improperly or something. Canada geese are delicious properly prepared and there isn't a lot of variety in their diets that could affect the taste; they basically eat grass, grains and water plants. It's why they like parks so much: acres of healthy grass and no predators.

"If these geese are full of chemicals, then I don't see how hunting/feeding to animals/using as fertilizer is an option, sadly. Can't put mercury back into the food chain. Landfills aren't ideal either, but I don't know what else you can do with a bunch of poison-filled dead waterfowl."

What do you think happens when these geese die of natural causes? Zip, right back into the food chain.
posted by Mitheral at 9:30 PM on July 24, 2010


great, now we're doing fucking recipes on the blue.
posted by mlis at 11:48 PM on July 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


I see you are a UKer, though oddly, so is Phanx

They're here too. In fact there's been a small 'ornamental' population in St James's Park for about 300 years, but in the last few decades they've spread and multiplied on a grand scale. I believe they've also moved into Scandinavia.
posted by Phanx at 12:52 AM on July 25, 2010


Yup. You know who else was anti-recipe, MLIS?
posted by sebastienbailard at 1:53 AM on July 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


While we're at it, why don't we just kill ALL the other lifeforms on the planet. And get all these problems over with once and for all. Then we'll nothing but our miserable selves to complain about.

Stupid fucking idea.
posted by Twang at 3:30 AM on July 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


In Long Beach, California a duck pond was built in the sprawling El Dorado park which abutted the city golf course. The duck pond had a large fountain, a duck island, a concrete path circling the water and a connecting stream to the golf course. A few ducks were let loose. What the city planners did not envision was that people would get their kids ducklings and goslings for Easter, the birds would lose their cuteness, and the parents would think, "Oh I know...the duck pond!" Between that and natural population growth, the mass of waterfowl became unwieldy. Predictably the geese didn't stay in their designated area but began straying onto the golf course and menancing the players.

The city struggled to keep their numbers in check until the 80's when the problem was solved. One particular ethnic group had moved into the area and was delighted at all the free food available.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:04 AM on July 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


In the Canadian Okanagan our beaches and parks are fouled by gooy goose poop all year round and cities are resorting to border collies to chase birds away from beaches to reduce coliform counts in the swimming areas.
Also they egg addling, where they shake up the eggs to kill the embrio during nesting season.
posted by daveeza at 6:50 AM on July 25, 2010


our beaches and parks are fouled by gooy goose poop
Surely you meant goy goose poop?
posted by fish tick at 7:49 AM on July 25, 2010



The local school district had to hire someone with a specially trained dog to keep them off the fields but then a mini-scandal developed over the cost and who made the most money off that deal.


In my job, I was given the task of preventing geese from using some sports fields at a school in my district. There was so much poop that the school had taken to keeping extra sets of clothes in the office so kids could change out of their poop-fouled duds.

I tried scare tape, flags, and a few other visual devices, to no avail. I took my dog there early mornings, and that drove them off now and then. I got the local authorities to authorize this school as an off-leash dog area, and there was even a front page story in the local rag about it. But during the time the geese were there, it was cold and wet and few people in their right mind want to run their dogs at 6am in that weather in the winter.

There is a chemical that you can spray which will discouage geese from landing in an area but you need to re apply after any rain, which makes it prohibitive. Also, this town is pretty much anti-chemical as a default position.

So I sort of gave up. The local fish and wildlife agency gave me permission to "haze" the geese (their term) but I have not found many upperclass geese willing to put their underlings through a series of humiliating tasks and rituals.

The geese win, for now.
posted by Danf at 8:34 AM on July 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


The problem with an open bag limit on Canada geese is the geese that would get culled are not the geese crapping all over the parks. The Canada geese seen in parks are overwhelmingly resident geese: they live their entire life cycle in the lower 48, they do not migrate north into Canada and Alaska in springtime. Most importantly from a hunting perspective, they do not leave the safety of urbanized areas to fly over areas where hunting is permitted. The geese that are flying over hunting refuges are the migratory Canada geese who are err, migrating.
posted by jamaro at 10:25 AM on July 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


They ought to spend the money on goose condoms (and goose sex ed).
posted by domnit at 10:38 AM on July 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


My town got rid of geese that were fouling up one of the retention ponds by a combination of border collies and applying vegetable oil to the eggs to prevent them from hatching. But the geese just moved to another pond. Talk about a no-win situation.
posted by tommasz at 10:50 AM on July 25, 2010


Hi, I'm a vegetarian. I'm thrilled we have so many new members being added to our ranks in this thread!
posted by tehloki at 11:57 AM on July 25, 2010


Hi, I'm a goose. I'm thrilled we have so many new members being added to our ranks in this thread!
posted by sebastienbailard at 12:28 PM on July 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Jeez, can't a plane crash in New York City without people calling for the extermination of some supposedly responsible population?

I see what you did there.
posted by tzikeh at 1:27 PM on July 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm surprised nobody mentioned in this thread that swans will do the trick in keeping geese from an area. (It matters, though, the time of year, and if it's a mated couple of swans.) They're very territorial. I've seen plenty of swan pens and swans on golf courses in Arizona.

However, we'd probably have to end up eating them, too.
posted by not_on_display at 1:38 PM on July 25, 2010


Most importantly from a hunting perspective, they do not leave the safety of urbanized areas to fly over areas where hunting is permitted. The geese that are flying over hunting refuges are the migratory Canada geese who are err, migrating.

This is only because you want to hunt with shotguns and decoys not nets and snares. An urban hunting season focused on something other than high velocity projectiles would certainly be possible. Of course federal regulations currently prohibit the use of snares and traps for hunting waterfowl, but this could be changed.
posted by humanfont at 1:46 PM on July 25, 2010


Let it be said I'm all for walking up to an urbanized resident goose and popping a cap in its ass.
posted by jamaro at 2:18 PM on July 25, 2010


If it's finally my turn to pick the winner, I'm gonna choose Sys Rq at 5:21 PM.
posted by cookie-k at 3:31 PM on July 25, 2010


I keep thinking swords are the way to go. Just go right into the thick of the flock, blade flashing and spinning, goose necks sliced and heads falling ka-plop.

However, I completely lack sword skills. One of you ninjas will have to take it on.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:34 PM on July 25, 2010


Meanwhile, as this story [Lack of Funds Grounds Canada Geese] in the Daily Yomiuri tells it, there aren't enough of them over here in Japan. "[The NPO's] target was to get 1,000 birds to fly to Japan every year ..."
posted by woodblock100 at 9:57 PM on July 25, 2010


I keep thinking swords are the way to go.

No way. Snowblowers.

Also acceptable: Don Cherry driving a Zamboni.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:17 PM on July 25, 2010


A sword's not going to cut it.

Having moved from Los Angeles to the Frozen North, I can tell you that what you'd want is a polearm. You don't even need a metal blade, just a long stick with a curved flat end. Plus you'd want to cover yourself with lightweight but functional plastic and foam body armor, and a helmet with a face guard.

And in the winter, you'd strap on skates to go after the bastards on ice.
posted by sebastienbailard at 1:29 AM on July 26, 2010


the received wisdom is that they taste so bad that they are basically inedible. I remember a few years ago one of the towns in the lower hudson valley had a cull and tried to feed them to people in the shelters (or maybe jails?). Maybe I am misremembering things but I think they tasted so bad they actually took the town to court and forced them to stop serving them.

If McDonalds can make chicken skin a beloved nuggety foodstuff, I'm pretty sure that geese can be made palatable to the American public.
posted by desuetude at 8:13 AM on July 26, 2010


Would it be more humane to just deport the Canadian Geese that are in New York (the way they do laborers in New Mexico)?
posted by naight at 10:54 AM on July 26, 2010


Related AskMe, "What are the legal, ethical, and/or health-related issues associated with grabbing a goose from the park one night and eating it for Sunday dinner the next day?"

It's also worth pointing out that Canada geese are more than a simple inconvenience:
  • They are aggressive, and pose a very real danger to pets, small children, and anyone who gets too close.
  • Humans find their poop objectionable on aesthetic grounds.
  • Other animals find their poop objectionable because of parasites. Goose poop transmits roundworms, among other worms.
  • Goose poop is high in nitrates, which causes algae blooms in ponds and streams, choking off the oxygen needed by insects and fish. The fecal coliform bacteria in goose poop is also not good for native fauna and humans.
  • They do an excellent job of out-competing other native waterfowl.
  • Canada geese, like deer and rats, are one of the few animals which benefit greatly from the changes humanity makes to the environment. We have created the problem of the Canada goose population explosion, by making terrain to their liking, and by eliminating what few natural predators they have.
posted by ErikaB at 11:01 AM on July 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


Never heard of ricebreast before.

Wonder if it has anything to do with all the non-migrating populations people are talking about.

I somehow doubt I'd be too interested in flying thousand of miles if I had thousands of parasites riddling my most important flying muscles.
posted by jamjam at 3:00 PM on July 26, 2010


Ricebreast could be a factor in airplane strikes too, if it reduces the agility of the geese enough to make it hard for them to get out of the way of aircraft.

And there's some good indirect evidence for that in the fact that carnivores like foxes and coyotes are the definitive hosts of the ricebreast parasite, and they would be significantly better off if the geese were easier to catch, just as cats are the definitive hosts for toxoplasma gondii, which makes mice easier to catch.

So maybe if we treated their disease instead of killing them, they wouldn't stay in our parks all year and could avoid airplanes.
posted by jamjam at 11:01 PM on July 26, 2010


It's a good theory but most resident Canada geese belong to subspecies (Branta canadensis maxima, Branta canadensis moffitti) that prefer to settle into one place due to temperament and an environment advantageous to survival, not because they are crippled.

From Ducks Unlimited:
What is it about resident Canada goose populations that have enabled them to increase so rapidly? Why have they been so successful? As a group, Canada geese are long-lived, with relatively high survival rates and low reproductive rates. However, the larger-bodied subspecies (which make up residents) have the highest reproductive rates and highest survival rates. In comparison to migrant Canada geese, residents begin nesting at a younger age, have larger clutches, and enjoy relatively stable and high reproductive success (nest success and gosling survival).

Unlike their counterparts, which nest in the arctic and subarctic and whose annual production is often boom or bust due to weather conditions, resident Canada geese nest in temperate environments where weather and breeding habitat conditions are relatively stable. In addition, breeding seasons in temperate areas are prolonged, which provides opportunities for renesting in the event of nest failure. Resident Canada geese also do not face the energetic constraints associated with long-distance migration, and live in essentially predator-free environments, which likely enhances survival. Further, portions of resident populations that inhabit urban settings are afforded additional protection through the absence of waterfowl hunting in these areas.

(...)

In short, human-induced changes to the landscape have essentially provided resident Canada goose populations with ideal living conditions.
From Washington State Dept of Fish and Wildlife:
For a goose to migrate, it must be taught the flight path by its parents. Therefore, all following generations of nonmigratory Canada geese will also be nonmigratory, or resident geese, which will stay year-round in the vicinity where they were born.
posted by jamaro at 12:19 AM on July 27, 2010


I was biking home a while ago and saw a woman feeding the geese at a storm control pond near the bike trail. I almost jumped off the bike to go over and ask WTF she was doing encouraging the damn things.

I love the wild critters, generally, but Canada geese are a damn nuisance around here, more of an invasive species (ala bindweed or himalayan blackberry) than wildlife. (An old FAQ from a goose killing in 2002 in Seattle. Also, love that the WA state DFW page includes lasers! as a method of repelling geese. Can we get sharks in our local ponds...with laser on their heads?!)
posted by epersonae at 11:40 AM on July 28, 2010


I propose the species be renamed Branta canadensis assholeus.

Woodchippers would work a charm on them.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:06 PM on July 28, 2010


Available for a limited time only: McGoose McNuggets
posted by localroger at 3:34 PM on July 28, 2010




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