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Geese live for another season in Mamaroneck village
In the ongoing turf struggle between geese and peeps, the humans in Westchester County are definitely letting the birds live.
After Mamaroneck officials met Monday with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, plans have been canceled for rounding up and gassing the geese. But the USDA, which is the only agency in the country allowed to cull the birds, will still be returning to the village in mid-April to oil the eggs they find in geese nests at both Harbor Island and Columbus Park, a process that will stop the eggs from hatching.
Last fall, Mamaroneck signed a contract with the feds to bring them in to euthanize an unspecified number of geese. When that news got out, it led to protests from all over the world, said Mayor Norm Rosenblum.
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Although he reluctantly has backed off on the killings, he decided against killing the entire contract. To maintain good relations with the USDA, it still makes sense for them to handle the egg oiling, which was also part of the original agreement, he told Newsday.
“It’s an approach of reasonable people,” he said.
This has all been happy news for geese advocate Kiley Blackman, who diplomatically praised Mamaroneck’s board of trustees “for having the integrity to stand up for what they believe in and demand the killing not go ahead.” But, she warned in a statement, “We will be watching this issue like hawks, after the amended contract is filed with the village.”
In the next week, the village will launch yet another plan of attack, which is to unleash its brand-new, $29,000 Rake-O-Vac machine on the Harbor Island ball fields that must be cleaned up for the new season.
“We’ll see how successful it is,” Rosenblum said. “At least we can do something for the children and adults of Mamaroneck.”
For now, he said he remains appalled to learn that a goose can produce up to 1 pound of poop per day. “That’s 700 pounds of disgusting goose waste you’re spreading in Harbor Island,” he said.
And in another nearby village, another experiment is under way. The egg oiling process has been completed in Scarsdale, where village officials were contemplating a USDA culling that never came close to the contract stage because of the public outcry.
The egg oiling was done during the holiday weekend as part of the strategy mapped out by the Long Island company Geesebusters, which scares away the birds by flying kites that look like eagles and by blowing whistles.
The work wraps up today after five straight days of toiling sunrise to sunset, according to Alfred Gatta, Scarsdale village manager. To prepare for the future, the village maintenance staff has received training on using the whistles and kite flying, he added.
Right now the geese are gone. “They’ll come back,” he said. “And we’ll see how it goes."