Don't Drink the Grape Kool-Aid: More Solutions for Mamaroneck Geese

Westchester4Geese, a local animal advocacy organization, has prepared a proposal for the Village of Mamaroneck's board of trustees.


The news that the Village of Mamaroneck was planning to slaughter Canadian Geese during molting season has set off a firestorm of outrage from local—and not-so-local—animal advocacy groups as well as individuals who oppose what they say is a cruel solution to a complex problem that may not fully eradicate the goose population.

Westchester4Geese founder Kiley Blackman—whose group has called for the slaughter to be televised on local stations—has submitted a formal proposal to the village for an alternative to the village's contract with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Criticizing the village's plan as unlikely to keep the goose population away indefinitely—perpetuating a habitual slaughter—Blackman calls for the village's adoption of Geesebusters, a three-dimensional replica of a predatory bird designed to condition geese to avoid areas where they see the "bird" flying over head.

Created by Robert Guadagna, the replica circles the area as if it is on the hunt for prey, fooling birds into believing they are being considered for the "bird's" next meal.  

"Our method exploits the bird's natural fear of an aerial predator and this inborn fear will cause the birds to leave permanently," said Geesebusters' website.

Although no specific figure was cited, Blackman's proposal said that Geesebusters would be willing to undercut the U.S.D.A.'s rate; Westchester4Geese has offered a $500 contribution toward the solution.

Additionally, the group supports ancillary methods of non-toxic goose repellents such as Birdgone and grape Kool-Aid, both of which have flavors repugnant to geese. Westchester4Geese also supports the use of goose birth control advocated by nonprofit group In Defense of Animals as well as methods such as egg oiling.

"With this unnecessary slaughter comes the underlying constant issue of brutality to beings who love their families just as humans do; who many many humans actually enjoy watching…whose viewing in fact provides a sense of peace and tranquility," said Blackman in the proposal.

Tom Murphy March 11, 2013 at 02:39 PM
I truly love Mamaroneck but it is a Village that has no institutional memory. No matter if the geese are slaughtered, if a mechanical bird attacks them, birth control is added to their food, dogs chase them, park workers fire sound guns at them they will return in florish in Harbor Island. Harbor Island is goose heaven and we arent about to do plantings that would discourage geese and deprive the kids of playing fields. So how about we get the guys out there on the new goose crap cleaning machine on a regular basis and see how it goes. Havent we wasted enough mental and emotional energy,not to mention newsprint on this issue? When folks google Mamaroneck do we really need the first 5 news stories to be about goose droppings?
Kim March 11, 2013 at 02:45 PM
Bravo to the local animal advocates who are working tirelessly, free of charge, to come up with creative, non-violent solutions to this issue. Wouldn't it be nice if our paid, elected officials did the same? Instead they try a couple of things, give up, and claim that they "have to" kill. Tragic.
Tom Murphy March 11, 2013 at 04:46 PM
To call them "paid elected officials" is absurd. While they do recieve scant compensation it has been my experience that it probably comes out to about a dollar an hour. Anyone who thinks trustees do this for the money has been misinformed. Whether I agree with who is in office or not my hat is off to them for doing an unbelievably time consuming and difficult job.
Lucia March 11, 2013 at 04:49 PM
I am also very curious why the Village of Mamaroneck is not using the goose dropping cleaning machine.
SRT March 11, 2013 at 04:52 PM
Tom, I agree that too much time is being spent on goose poop and their humane slaughter but the genie has been unleashed. Why the Village entered into this contract, starting this controversy without first bringing it public doesn't make sense. My understanding about the goose pooper picker upper is that it can only be used once a month because otherwise it damages the turf. The turf at Harbor Island is not in great shape as it is, it is unclear how much it will be able to be used and how effective it will be. The only thing that will lower the goose populations over the long term is a combination of tactics consistently applied. No single approach is going to do it. Personally, I vote for the Goosinator http://www.goosinator.com , at least it will be fun to use!
j. desmond March 11, 2013 at 05:13 PM
the geesebusters website seems to be defunkt. They claim to have a video. So put it on You Tube. "Said Simple Simon to the Pie man, let me see your wares."
Stefani Kim March 11, 2013 at 05:18 PM
Hi J. Desmond, Here's a link I found to a Gothamist article about Geesebusters' founder Rob Guadagna that includes a video of the "bird" in action. http://gothamist.com/2011/02/09/video_who_you_gonna_call_geesebuste.php Best, Stefani
Kim March 11, 2013 at 06:24 PM
We really do need to reconsider the necessity of so much open lawn. Sure, you need it for a soccer game or a golf game. But all this lawn is why geese come here. We need to get creative about this and make some changes. Open fields of grass require a lot of money and fossil fuels to maintain, blowing leaves, applying fertilizer, and constant mowing. Spray kool-aid on the soccer fields, or use the poop machine once a month, or whatever. But other places plant trees to break up the fields, don't blow away the leaves, plant pachysandra, or ivy, shrubs, rocks and pebbles, wildflowers, and varieties of grass the geese dislike. If we continue to have large spaces of open lawn next to water, we will continue to have geese, and people will continue to claim that they must die. We kind of need to grow up.
John March 11, 2013 at 09:12 PM
The geese have no natural predators and so multiply. Unlike swans they are dirty and pollute land and rivers. The idea of culling is to control numbers, not eliminate them. Nothing shocking here - it is done in game reserves in Africa to restore the animal balance to each other and the reserve acreage. Geese are a pest in parks, playing fields, gardens and shorelines. Next up; deer and squirrels.....
Kim March 11, 2013 at 10:20 PM
"Nothing shocking here" is exactly the point. Killing living things that WE attract here with our lawns and lifestyle---that should be shocking. Some species compensate for culling by reproducing more. The geese seem to be doing that, as communities who kill end up killing repeatedly. Some of us are not comfortable with taking life when other solutions are right in front of us. Some of us are shocked by that.
Mary Too March 12, 2013 at 01:13 AM
I just finished watching the March 11 meeting of the Village of Mamaroneck Board of Trustees. What a joke! One after another, a group of “goose-huggers” spoke about how appalled they were that the village has plans to rid the beach and parks of canada geese by euthanization. All but two of these complainers DID NOT EVEN LIVE IN MAMARONECK. Until they live with the problem, these interlopers should have nothing to say about the solution. One speaker made the absurd comment that she was bothered by the killing of animals for doing what animals do. I’m curious as to what her solution would be if her home became overrun with mice or rats. Maybe she would just live peacefully with them. The group became loud and boisterous when a life-long resident took the podium to rebut their comments. At that point, the Mayor would have been within his rights in having them all removed from the meeting for being disorderly. These geese transmit diseases, render our parks unusable, and I have personally seen them become aggressive with a young child. GET RID OF THEM!
Kim March 12, 2013 at 01:55 AM
I was at the meeting, spoke my peace, and sat calmly throughout the entire process. I was the interloper from Scarsdale, and yes, I do live with geese and was active in working with my local govt. to handle this nonviolently. I also delivered a passionate letter from a Mamaroneck resident who could not be there, but was against the killing. I personally delivered a petition that contained the names of Mamaroneck residents opposed to the killing. Curiously there was only ONE person who bothered to show up who was in favor of the killing, and he delivered a rambling speech about sending goose meat to Africa. There are people who have been working day and night drafting proposals with alternatives to killing. We are not just complainers, we are problem-solvers. You say you want to get rid of geese. Well, killing will not get rid of them. THAT is why people are expending time and effort on this issue. Talk to communities who have killed hundreds of geese, only to have them come back. You want to kill every year? Would you like to drive this species to extinction? Well, to that I have nothing to say. That is pathological.
Mary Too March 12, 2013 at 02:11 AM
If you want to live with geese, be my guest. I don't care to do so. As a matter of fact, why don't you take a few of them back to Scarsdale with you? They make using our parks and beaches a nightmare,
MARY March 12, 2013 at 02:37 AM
Stuart, Once again you got the facts wrong. Every time when Trustee No brought up the same thing you just did about the machine only be able to be used once a month he was corrected. The golf courses use the machine everyday if necessary.
Jeanne March 12, 2013 at 04:45 AM
When people move to an area that is right near the water, there are things that go along with that. Geese, ducks, seagulls are just a few of them. If you can't deal with that stuff , then get a picture of the beach and hang it on your wall. I lived in Mamaroneck for almost 40 years, and only left there 6 months ago because I was unable to find another place in the town that I loved. Now I am starting to feel ashamed of it.
TAX Payer March 12, 2013 at 04:12 PM
Really? I pay a lot of money for my children to enjoy OUR beutiful park. I don't need out of towners lobbying their opinions when they are not the ones dealing with the problem. I DO NOT allow my children to play on those fields for fear of desease. I commend the Mayor and the board for addressing this issue. If slaughtering the geese will make the fields safe for my children to play on...I say...Off with their heads!
Kim March 12, 2013 at 04:50 PM
I used to live in the area, now 6 miles away. Someone from Texas is an outsider, your neighbors in Westchester are not outsiders. There's not some Berlin wall preventing people in Westchester from going to Mamaroneck and patronizing its businesses and bringing revenue to the town. If Mamaroneck wants to close itself off from "outsiders" I don't see businesses turning down my money, who in turn pay real estate taxes. More taxes, I'm sure, than you personally pay. It seems that Mamaroneck has a hard time facing its very real problems of incessant human waste pouring into its waters, and wants to focus on goose droppings. It is easy to clean up the goose droppings and to control their population humanely. It is HARD to clean up sewage. It will cost millions and millions of dollars. Did you ever wonder why the town is leading people on a "wild goose chase" about cleaning up the waterfront? Because they aren't really trying to clean up the waterfront. You say "if slaughtering geese will make the fields safe..." Well, to answer that: it won't. Your tax money will be wasted and your children will still be swimming in sewage.
K. Sipe March 12, 2013 at 05:38 PM
So it is ok to teach your children that when Wildlife does something you don't particularly care for then just murder them? The way they kill these geese is FAR from humane. How would you like to have you and your family rounded up into tiny crates, then either watch as your family is murdered one by one, or spend a very long amount of time trying to breathe as you are being gassed to death. Yes...this sounds very humane. The geese are just trying to exist. They see an inviting patch of land and water so they go there. What is wrong with using kinder alternatives to slaughter to keep their numbers down? I am from the area and I applaud these alternative suggestions! Please go with one!
Gina von Eiff March 12, 2013 at 06:39 PM
Tax Payer who doesn't have the courage to write their name - if you don't want to live with the wildlife go to the city and live with the cockroaches - to each his own. If you think that you will have clean safe fields for your children - outside where you have no control of seagulls, rats, raccoons, cats, broken liquor bottles, discarded hypodermics and condoms, broken seashells, - get real - your children can get sick in a million ways, and do you let them swim in the Harbor with the sewage spills, oiil spills, people peeing, babies in soiled diapers floating around - seriously? These geese come from all neighborhoods and migrate up and down the rivers. If this is a money issue - we're losing - they'll keep coming back - so that means more slaughtering, you're wasting my money and yours and your children are no safer. They can get TB if someone spits on the sidewalk - my gosh, have they ever fallen and been cut - they could be infected. Life is full of danger. We're living in "wildlife" territory - we're taking their habitat and upsetting the ecosystem, just check out how dirty are rivers are with human garbage. Sign your name and stand up for your beliefs, just like we are.
Amy Meyer Hodman March 12, 2013 at 08:42 PM
Really? Well I'M a taxpayer too (lived in Mamaroneck since 2006) so I also pay money for MY child to use our beautiful park. And I do not agree at all with the Mayor's decision to kill the geese. what kind of example does this set for our kids when our elected officials think it is better to just kill off a problem instead of dealing with it in a more reasonable manner?


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