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"Goose Watch" Stakeout Plan Launched in Prospect Park

June 17, 2011 | Geese / Press Releases / Hunting & Wildlife Management / Free-Living Animals / Take Action

For Immediate Release:

Contact: Edita Birnkrant, NY director, Friends of Animals 917.940.2725

Advocates Demand an End to Bird Removal and Killing

New York City-A group of local Brooklyn advocates have joined forces with Friends of Animals, an international advocacy organization, to mobilize against the chasing off or rounding up of geese and their small goslings in Prospect Park and other City parks this summer, and to demand policies of protection and respect for urban wildlife.

video & photo by Matt Ocampo


A plan has been launched and is currently in effect to keep watch at Prospect Park, including during the hours that the park is closed to the public, from 1am-5am, when the US Department of Agriculture agents are most likely to arrive to trap and kill geese. The goose slaughter contract Mayor Bloomberg signed with the USDA runs through June 30th, meaning that New York City's Canada geese are at risk of a massacre every day.

GooseWatch organizers have amassed a list of nearly 100 supporters who are on call to receive a mass text message and phone call at any hour of the night if the USDA is spotted by stakeout patrollers and who are able to come to the park immediately to defend the geese.

The "GooseWatch" group is committed to protecting the geese of Prospect Park, New York City and beyond.

"We cannot allow USDA agents to enter our parks once again to brutally stuff molting, flightless geese and their babies into crates and gas them," said Edita Birnkrant, NY Director of Friends of Animals and a GooseWatch organizer.

"We say no to Mayor Bloomberg's dishonest, mean-spirited attack on Canada geese, and to demand an end to the killing of the geese beloved by so many park-goers," said Birnkrant, who added that chasing the birds off or ruining their eggs is part of this same war.

The immediate goal of GooseWatch is to ensure that if the USDA returns in the summer of 2011 to kill any of Prospect Park's remaining geese, the event will be witnessed and documented, and prevented, through the use of noisemakers, whistles and other tactics to scatter the geese.

"Last year, the community was fast asleep when the USDA came in the middle of the night to round up Prospect Park's Canada geese. This year we will be wide awake, watching and waiting," said GooseWatch organizer and Brooklyn resident David Karopkin. The stakeout will be conducted in compliance with park rules and local law.

"As a wildlife rehabilitator licensed by the Department of Environmental Conservation, I work to rescue wildlife, while the USDA, another government agency, is killing the very birds I'm trying to save," said Johanna Clearfield, a Brooklyn resident and wildlife advocate.

Last July, an early morning roundup and gassing of nearly 400 of Prospect Park's resident Canada geese caused a public outcry. Last summer 1,676 geese were killed throughout New York City.

To join the stakeout team during a patrol, or request more information, media and advocates should e-mail Protect Our Geese or Friends of Animals.


Friends of Animals, an international animal advocacy organization founded in 1957, advocates for the rights of animals to live free, on their own terms.


Slaughtering geese is totally wrong. It is their world, too. The world is not made exclusively for man.

If they were wild pigs 'Bloomberg wouldn't have signed the order or scared "Cows" but beautiful flying creatures from the north -- let's "Slaughter". So as not to inconvenience the public might step in goose shit "too bad maybe it would change their me'ism attitude if the did get a little shit on their shoes. We are such a "Disney Society we' re lost touch with Nature. With the Mayhem of our current society our priorities are in "Killing GOD'S creatures so we won't step in their shit" WHO and What is Next. I'm ashamed of being Human today I'd rather be a Goose!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It is about time we stopped the abuse and murder of geese. They have just as much of a right to be here as we do. The authorities need to start using their heads and their hearts and coming up with intelligent humane solutions instead of coming to the first and easiest solution, to cull. We, as tax payers, pay these decision making authorities high salaries and I believe it is about time we get what we pay for! I say, if the autorities are not intelligent enough to come up with intelligent humane solutions, then they need to be fired!

I am SHOCKED AND HORRIFIED Mayor Bloomberg - SHAME ON YOU...AND YOU SHOULD BE FIRED as your friend Donald Trump touts on his show. This is a heinous crime against nature and something beautiful and innocent. You should be held responsible, solely responsible for this!!. You signed the order, YOU REVERSE IT. These geese are doing nothing wrong...OTHER than perhaps crapping on the grass which is a function of LIFE....they are no different and deserve to LIVE their LIVES...not being MURDERED just because they were born as geese. for what reason do you order this execution? for esthetics, because idiots complain about stepping in geese horrible that must instead you listen to these losers..and you ORDER EXECUTION OF INNOCENT ANIMALS instead as the remedy. LEAVE THEM ALONE!! Don't you have better things to do/sign off on, like getting rid of the GARBAGE that perpetrates crime, rape, drugs, etc in your city instead of being concerned about GEESE CRAP. SHAMEFUL. Greta Stifel-Arnone, Kensington, CT

While I was walking my dogs this morning on the peninsula at Inwood Hill Park, a convoy of trucks arrived carrying canoes, crates and wildlife officials from the Department of Agriculture. When I inquired why they were there, I was informed that they were there to capture all of the geese in the park and take them away to be slaughtered. There were about a dozen geese on the shore and I was about to take off to scare them away in an attempt to save them, when one of the men told me that if I interfered with the capture he would have me arrested, and pointed to an unmarked black SUV full of cops. If it weren't for the fact that I had my dogs with me and realizing that they would wind up in the pound if I had been arrested, I would have gladly taken them up on their challenge. After being threatened again with arrest and told to leave, I went home to call 311 to express my horror to Bloomberg's office, the Parks Department and NY1 tv. By the time I returned to the park about 15 minutes later with my camera, they all were gone, along with all of the geese. It's so sad. We had about 30 geese in the park, including babies who had finally matured to be independent of their parents. This is a heart breaking event. I implore everyone who reads this to call the Mayor's office, the Parks Department and the media to complain about this travesty. This is the third year this policy has been in effect. It's too late to save the geese this year, but perhaps we can save next year's flock. If you object to the use of your tax dollars for this cruel and inhumane slaughter of city wildlife, please call to express your outrage. Thank you. Suzanne Soehner, Inwood, NY

How horrible that the man who signs the order to murder innocent animals is in charge of NYC. He does not represent the wishes of the people of NY. most do not want these geese killed. Shame on mayor BLOOMBERG.

To avoid aircraft birdstrikes, the Port Authority of NY and NJ and the NYC DEP (Mayor Bloomberg) must implement available bird strike avoidance radar systems at the NWK, LGA and JFK Airports, such as: US Military Aviation Hazard Advisory System: Bird Avoidance Model (see Wikipedia, BIRDSTRIKE: Countermeasures, Flight Path); OR Royal Netherlands Air Force RADAR OBSERVATION OF BIRD INTENSITY (ROBIN), (see Wikipedia, BIRDSTRIKE: ...). RNAF had 50% fewer collisions; OR MERLIN AIRCRAFT BIRDSTRIKE AVOIDANCE RADAR SYSTEM (USAF ATTLA certified), 70 in use worldwide. These radar systems have reduced the number of BIRDSTRIKES by 50-70%, and almost certainly have reduced all of the more radar detectible and more dangerous FLOCKSTRIKES. According to the Air Line Pilots Association (, the FAA has been testing birdstrike avoidance radar at Chicago O'Hare, Dallas-Ft Worth and JFK airports. Since prevailing radar technology mitigates aircraft birdstrike dangers; the capture, sale and killing of NYC geese cannot be permitted by the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act (16 U.S.C. 703-712 ch 128) and by the Secretary of the US Department of the Interior.

A day or two before the mass slaughter of defenseless geese in Inwood Hill Park in upper Manhattan, a helicopter circled over the the marshland area of the park for perhaps 30 minutes. Attached to the nose of this dull black helicopter, which was unmarked except for white identification numbers, was a white balloon-shaped sphere that I figured might be some sort of camera. At the time, I naively wondered what on earth was worth watching and filming from on high on a typical day in the park. Only after the terrible events June 30 did I realize that the helicopter must have been on a pre-kill reconnaissance mission. I'm wondering whether all of this year's "culls" have been preceded by helicopter surveillance.

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