Town officials will keep plan to control geese population

By MICHAEL RISINIT
THE JOURNAL NEWS
(Original publication: April 19, 2001)

Kent - Town officials in Kent prefer their Canada geese eggs shaken in order to keep the number of birds down around Lake Carmel, and plan to continue the practice this spring.

Permits are in place to begin addling eggs. Supervisor Annmarie Baisley said the Town Board will discuss this year's efforts at its meeting Monday. Addling involves shaking or piercing the eggs to halt their development. The eggs are then placed back in the nest, which keeps the goose from laying another.

"The numbers (of geese) are down but, according to the professionals, they haven't all come in yet because the ice just melted," Baisley said.

It will be the fifth year that the town has disturbed geese eggs in hopes of controlling the birds' numbers around Lake Carmel. Town officials want to avoid waterfowl-traffic accidents as the geese cross the Route 311 causeway and eliminate the birds' droppings from parks and beaches.

In addition to shaking eggs in 1999, workers for the town also rounded up 125 geese and sent them to an upstate meat-processing plant. There the birds were killed, processed like domestic fowl and distributed to food banks in Delaware County. The town came under fire for that move, with animal rights' groups protesting at town meetings and other locations in Kent.

With expansive lawns and parks providing ample food supplies, coupled with numerous ponds and lakes, the suburbs are paradise for the birds. Kent isn't the only local community to attempt some form of population control. Addling permits have also been used in Putnam Valley, Mamaroneck town, Mount Kisco and Briarcliff Manor. Some golf courses, homeowner associations and municipal governments have employed dogs to chase the birds away.

Unlike last year, the town didn't renew its permits for the roundup-and-slaughter method. Addling coupled with twice-daily harassment by park workers in boats should limit the number of geese who call the lake home, said Lake Carmel Park District Chairwoman Kathy Doherty said. Addling will cost the town $400.

"Chasing them so they never really get comfortable and shaking the eggs keeps them down," Doherty said.

The roundup in 1999, Doherty and other officials said, brought the population to a level where it could be managed with just addling and harassment. The lake, Doherty said, had "just a handful" of resident geese last year, compared to about 150 in 1999. This year, no more than a dozen have been sighted.

Combining addling and harassment, according to the Coalition to Prevent the Destruction of Canada Geese, makes everybody happy. The geese don't suffer the effects of overpopulation, anti-geese residents are provided some population control and the pro-geese faction finds that solution palatable.

"It's a common program that a lot of people have had success with and I'm not surprised Kent is using it," said Gregg Feigelson, a spokesman for the Pearl River-based group.

Eggs begin to hatch later this month and continue through early June. According to the state Department of Environmental Conservation's Web site, New York's total Canada goose population is about 160,000 birds. The number of breeding pairs is estimated to be 52,000, up from 18,000 in 1989.

The Town Board meeting starts at 7:30 p.m. in Kent Town Hall, 770 Route 52.



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