700 Geese rounded up to avoid bird strikes at JFK, La Guardia

The Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge yesterday was the worst place to be a Canada goose.

Federal officials rounded up about 700 of the birds from the area to be euthanized in hopes of cutting down on the strikes with passenger jets that have forced emergency landings from JFK and La Guardia Airports.

The action also ended a two-year dispute between the US Department of Agriculture and the National Parks Service over removing the birds.

“We could not afford to sit back and wait for a catastrophe to occur before cutting through bureaucratic red tape between federal agencies,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), who pushed the feds for the removal.

“We are finally taking action to help reduce bird strikes and save lives,” she said.

The birds, which can’t fly during their molting season, were gathered by kayak and on land, where they were herded into fenced pens. All were then put into crates to be sent to an upstate poultry plant, where they will likely be gassed, said Carol Bannerman, a spokeswoman for the USDA.

The meat from the geese will be given to food pantries, Bannerman said. The effort should rid the region of the birds, she said.

La Guardia and JFK saw increases in bird strikes of 28 percent and 53 percent between 2009 and 2011. Both federal agencies welcomed yesterday’s bird removal.


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